SAN DIEGO -- Jeff Samardzija appreciated that Cubs manager Dale Sveum left him alone in the eighth inning Saturday to get out of a jam.
Sveum downplayed his role, saying catcher Dioner Navarro did go out to talk to Samardzija during the inning when the Padres loaded the bases with none out. They did score one run, but Samardzija escaped.
"That's your No. 1 guy and a guy you trust," Sveum said Sunday. "He's obviously a competitor and a guy who can reach back. We've seen it before -- he's a guy you can trust to get out of stuff like that. It's their game. Whether it works sometimes or not, it's always good after the fact. Those meetings, sometimes you get the guy thinking too much. When it gets to that point, his competitiveness and the football mentality has to come out in those kind of settings."
Samardzija has given up three runs over 17 innings in his last two starts, striking out 12. What can he do to maintain this kind of consistency?
"You can always look back on his outings, and it's usually strike one," Sveum said. "[He has to get] strike one to where he can use his split and get strike one with things other than his fastball, too. A lot of guys try to jump on him early and swing at first pitches, so he has to keep them a little off balance."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.