TORONTO -- Jeff Samardzija didn’t earn the win on Wednesday afternoon but he deserved one.
Though he had to work overtime to limit a hot Toronto Blue Jays lineup, Samardzija effectively danced in and out of trouble over seven strong innings. The White Sox bullpen blew a chance for Samardzija to earn a third straight victory, but his offense rallied to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 in 10 innings.
“Shark pitched a great game,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He's just been kind of on time with everything. Really aggressive, emotionally gets stronger as the game goes along. He pitched a great game.”
Samardzija said he knew the score with the White Sox having lost four straight and headed to Baltimore on Thursday to play a doubleheader. The right-hander knew he had to work deep into the game to help out the bullpen and pitched around eight hits. After he threw 39 pitches the first two frames, Samardzija averaged 14.8 over the next five innings. That allowed Samardzija to get through the ever-dangerous top portion of the Jays lineup four times.
“With the double header, and then two more road trips after that, I just knew I couldn't go out and throw a short-inning performance,” Samardzija said. “I had to get deep into the game and hopefully save our bullpen for this long stretch.”
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Samardzija has done just that with 23 innings and a 1.96 ERA over his past three starts. He threw strikes on 78 of 114 pitches on Wednesday and effectively used all five of his pitches.
The effort lowered Samardzija’s season ERA to 3.84. He’s scheduled to pitch again next Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series at Texas.
“I feel good man,” Samardzija said. “Start of the season, a lot of time's it's great and sometimes it's not. You gotta get into the swing of things and get used to things and definitely don't panic. I feel great and looking forward to get back out there.”