How it happened: Jeff Samardzija delivered his worst outing and the offense was a shell of what it was the night earlier. The Twins, who have the worst record in the American League, got to Samardzija for two runs in the second inning and six in the fourth inning. Alfonso Soriano hit a home run, his third in two games.
What it means: It doesn’t matter what lineup combination the Cubs try, they continue to struggle against left-handed pitching. The Cubs entered with a .223 batting average against lefties, tied with the Astros for the lowest mark in the National League. Twins’ lefty Scott Diamond only extended their misery. The Cubs are just 2-12 against left-handed starters this season. No other team in baseball has fewer than four victories against lefties.
Outside the box: In his previous three starts, Samardzija gave up eight runs over 20 1/3 innings. Against a Twins team that entered 23rd in baseball in runs scored, the right-hander gave up his eight runs in 3 2/3 innings. It is easily the most runs Samardzija has allowed since earning a spot in the rotation this spring. His ERA leapt from 3.13 to 3.96.
Off beat: One thing Saturday’s loss didn’t do was to extend the Cubs’ streak of consecutive one-run defeats. On Friday night, the Cubs set a franchise record by losing their 12th consecutive one-run game. The previous record of 11 one-run defeats was held by the 1915 club. The Cubs aren’t completely futile in one-run games this year. They are 6-16 overall but 0-11 on the road.
Up next: The Cubs will send right-hander Ryan Dempster (1-3, 2.59 ERA) to the mound in the series finale Sunday at Minnesota. The Twins will go with left-hander Francisco Liriano (1-6, 6.46) in the 1:10 p.m. start from Target Field.