A 'hats off' night for White Sox

CHICAGO -- There was a lot of cap tipping in the Chicago White Sox clubhouse on a night the Chicago Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija refused to be beat.

Conor Gillaspie, for instance, was asked three questions afterward and each time he doffed the verbal cap to Samardzija. And that was from a guy who had one of the two White Sox hits against the Cubs right-hander.

“He was on tonight,” Gillaspie said after the White Sox dropped the opener in the Crosstown Cup, 7-0, to the Cubs. “It didn’t matter who we had on the mound, honestly. He threw every single pitch for a strike, it seemed like. His fastball moves all over the place. You get to two strikes, you’re in trouble with a guy like that. He got ahead a lot. He was on tonight. You tip your cap sometimes.”

The White Sox have been turning a corner of late, but this was more about the opposing pitcher than it was about what they did in the batter’s box. Samardzija needed 108 pitches to hold the White Sox to those two hits in a complete-game shutout He struck out eight.

When avoiding Samardzija’s nastiest pitches is a reason to feel relieved, it couldn’t have been a good night.

“For me, I think I was one of the lucky ones,” White Sox captain Paul Konerko said. “I swung at a fastball, over-extended a little bit in my first time up and grounded out, then I walked on four pitches and I got a good fastball to him my last time and just missed it. So I didn't even get to the stuff that everyone else was getting to; I didn't want to.

“But from the side, yeah, he had a ton of movement. That (splitter) he's throwing, he's obviously backing it up with 95 (mph) and throwing strikes to make you swing the bat. So tip your hat to him and move on.”

The question moving forward is whether or not Samardzija’s dominance will trigger another collective slide offensively for the White Sox or if that kind of dominating stuff will make the next opposing pitcher look amateur by comparison.

The White Sox’s next test comes against Edwin Jackson, who hasn’t had the best of starts in a Cubs uniform with a 1-7 record and a 6.11 ERA.

“You look at the at-bats, a lot of swing and miss,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Even when we hit some it wasn't really hit hard. There might have been a couple in there. You just tip your hat. He was good. He was as good as anyone we've seen.”