MESA, Ariz. -- Jeff Samardzija knew exactly what he needed to do to get back on track after a subpar outing.
Samardzija pitched six innings of three-hit ball to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 2-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.The right-hander had a solid season while working as a reliever in 2011, but new manager Dale Sveum told him he wanted him to make the switch to a starting spot. He pitched well in his first three starts, but gave up seven runs and seven hits against Colorado on Friday."I was cruising and I let it get in my head a little bit," he said Wednesday. "I came out today and made a little adjustment from the last time out. It's amazing what kind of a difference that can make."On his new role, the 27-year-old Samardzija said: "I feel great, but I'm not going to worry about it (making the rotation)."Samardzija also got a hit in his second straight game. This one was a leadoff triple in the fifth that rolled under the glove of diving left fielder Russ Canzler. But Samardzija was stranded.His teammates picked him up with two runs in the sixth on singles by Bryan LaHair and Joe Mather.Samardzija takes pride in other aspects of his game."I've said all along that I want to be an athlete, run the bases and field my position," the ex-Notre Dame wide receiver said.Cubs closer Carlos Marmol pitched the seventh inning in his second appearance since leaving a game on March 20 with numbness in his pitching hand. He struck out one and walked one.Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin yielded two runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. He is making a bid to be a part of manager Manny Acta's rotation.Acta said Tomlin (0-3, 7.15 ERA in six games, four starts) threw 86 pitches, but was not on a pitch count."If you go by the pitch count, then the other guys (pitchers) don't get their work," Acta said."He has a good curveball. It is a pitch he needs to pitch effectively."The Indians lost their sixth straight and are 2-9 in their last 11 games.Acta was asked when his offense will need to get going."On the 5th (of April, opening day against Toronto). That would be a good day," Acta said. "As long as we're healthy, I think we are going to be OK offensively."
The Indians released INF Cristian Guzman and reassigned OF Fred Lewis to their minor league camp. ... Jason Kipnis had two of Cleveland's five hits, including a double off Samardzija to lead off the game. ... LaHair is 12 for 26 with six doubles and four RBIs in his last seven games.