CHICAGO -- Jeff Samardzija's third Major League start will not count against his permanent record.
The Cubs' series finale against the Pirates on Thursday was suspended in the top of the fourth inning with Pittsburgh leading 3-0, after a three-run first against Samardzija. The game was called after more than a two-and-a-half hour delay. With three days remaining this season and neither team in the playoff hunt, the game will not be made up, and the statistics from it won't be kept.
That will erase the three earned runs Samardzija surrendered in the opening frame, when he gave up a one-out double to Andy LaRoche and an RBI single to Garrett Jones. One out later, Samardzija's fastball to Lastings Milledge started outside but tailed over the middle of the plate and wound up in the first row of the left-field bleachers.
Samardzija retired the Pirates quickly in each of the next two innings and had thrown five pitches to Ryan Doumit in the fourth when the game was stopped. He threw a total of 53 pitches and so probably will not get another chance to take the mound this season.
Samardzija will next pitch south of the border.
"He's going to go to winter ball in Mexico, which will further enhance his education and at the same time, give him a chance to prepare for next spring," manager Lou Piniella said before the game. "Hopefully he comes to camp next spring and competes for a job in our rotation. That'd be wonderful."
Although Samardzija has appeared mostly in relief in the big leagues, the Cubs see him as a starter in the long term.
"I think that's the consensus," Piniella said. "I know that he's been back and forth according to the needs of the Major League team. But I think now that we've seen him here over the past couple years in bits and pieces, I think that's the general consensus, yes."
The Cubs will close out their season with a three-game series against the Diamondbacks, starting Friday at Wrigley Field.
Everyone with a ticket to Thursday's game is entitled to a full refund. Information about obtaining the refund will be available Friday on cubs.com.
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.