SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Jeff Samardzija pitched three scoreless innings to get the Cubs started to a 6-4 Cactus League victory over the Royals on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium.
Samardzija, a right-handed reliever trying to snag a starting job, whizzed through his three innings, facing the minimum nine batters. The only baserunner was Chris Getz, who looped a single to left, but was thrown out trying to steal. Samardzija struck out three as he threw 35 pitches.
"He looked like he wasn't trying to throw so hard and was taking something off," said the Royals' Eric Hosmer. "He was trying to stay around the zone and he had some more movement on the ball. Then, in the second inning, he started mixing in a little cutter and stuff. He looked good today."
Bryan LaHair and Jae-Hoon Ha each had run-scoring singles and Darwin Barney lined an RBI double in the Cubs' big inning. LaHair, Starlin Castro and Reed Johnson each had two singles for Chicago.
Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, the Royals' big offseason acquisition, had a rough first outing. He faced eight batters in the first inning and gave up four runs, but was hurt by three errors, two by third baseman Mike Moustakas and one by right fielder Jeff Francoeur.
Sanchez was lifted after one inning and 31 pitches including 21 strikes. Everett Teaford and Nate Adcock each followed with two scoreless innings.
The Royals got an unearned run in the fourth against right-hander Jay Jackson. Getz reached on shortstop Castro's throwing error and scored on Hosmer's double to left-center field.
Up next: Chris Volstad makes his first start Thursday when the Cubs play host to the Mariners at HoHoKam Park. Game time is 2:05 p.m. CT. Volstad, acquired from the Marlins for Carlos Zambrano, has been working on his grip and mechanics with former Cubs pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, a guest instructor in camp. Expect regulars like Marlon Byrd and David DeJesus back in the lineup. The game will be broadcast on cubs.com.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.