Jeff Samardzija Pitches 8 Innings Of 1-Hit Ball As Pirates Lose, 2-0

July 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Jeff Samardzija one-hit the Pirates over eight innings, striking out five, with the Bucs' only hit coming on an infield single by Andrew McCutchen. So the Bucs found themselves down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, despite an 11-strikeout performance by Erik Bedard against the Cubs' hapless offense. (I don't want to minimize it, though -- a dominant start from Bedard is great to see as the Pirates pray that the back of their rotation hangs together down the stretch.)

Starlin Castro led off the fourth inning with a walk, and Alfonso Soriano doubled him home with a fly ball to the gap. In the ninth, Tony Watson came on and allowed a single to Castro, and then Soriano doubled him home again with a fly ball to about the same place he'd hit the ball before. For some reason, the Pirates then turned to Evan Meek, who walked two batters before finally getting a groundout from Darwin Barney to end the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Cubs turned to Carlos Marmol, which felt like a great gift, because if you're down 2-0 in the ninth and Carlos Marmol comes on, you can pretty much just keep the bats on your shoulders and pray he makes enough mistakes to put you back in the game all by himself. Unfortunately, after allowing a single to Josh Harrison (the second Pirates hit of the game!), Marmol got two strikeouts and a groundout to end it.

The Reds lead the Astros in the bottom of the fifth.

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