Samardzija shines but Braves blank Cubs 2-0

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ATLANTA (AP) - Another standout performance by Jeff Samardzija.

Another zero in his win column.

Samardzija pitched two-hit ball for six scoreless innings but his long wait for a win continued as the Chicago Cubs were shut out by Ervin Santana and the Atlanta Braves 2-0 on Saturday night.

Samardzija had seven strikeouts and walked only one batter. He lowered his ERA to 1.45, second in the NL, but he is still without a win this season.

His winless streak was extended to 14 starts. His last victory came on Aug. 24, 2013, at San Diego.

He insisted the long drought wasn’t wearing on him.

“No. I understand the situation, I understand how things go,” Samardzija said. “Baseball is a funny sport. It’s just one of those things where you learn from it. It usually comes around in the end and it all evens out.”

Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Samardzija is winning in other ways.

“He’s going out every single day and showing you that he’s not thinking of anything other than giving you a really good performance,” Renteria said. “So my solace is in the fact that this guy’s being the ultimate professional in attacking what he’s supposed to do.

“As far as not coming out with victories, I think that every time he goes out there, he may not have a victory at the end of the day in that column but he’s accumulating victories,” Renteria added. “Many victories. In many different ways. And I think that goes a long ways with his teammates.”

Samardzija and Santana had to wait out a rain delay in the third inning that lasted 1 hour, 7 minutes.

Santana (4-0) allowed five hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out seven.

Braves left fielder Justin Upton left the game in the sixth with a lower back muscle bruise after being hit by a pitch from Samardzija. He is day to day.

Braves closer Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 10th save.

Kimbrel, who blew a 2-1 lead in the ninth in the Braves‘ 3-2 win in 10 innings on Friday night, was back in form. He walked Starlin Castro with two outs before striking out Luis Valbuena to end the game.

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