Perfect place for Samardzija's first shutout

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, who spent many years cheering for the Chicago White Sox during his childhood, finally turned the tables on his once-favorite team.

The Northwest Indiana native took an 0-2 lifetime record against the Sox into Monday’s game, but came out with his first career shutout.

“I loved coming to watch games here as a kid and watching these guys play for a long time,” Samardzija said after winning his third game of the season. “I have always been a fan, so to come here and have my whole family here, 30 minutes from home, is fun. I love the atmosphere here and all of these games against the White Sox.This is what baseball is all about -- rivalry games.”

Samardzija has been one of the more dominant pitchers in baseball of late, allowing just three earned runs in his last 24 innings of work. His newfound success is due in part to an suggestion from Cubs manager Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio after his worst start of the season on May 10 in Washington.

“We wanted him to try and create a better angle and downhill plane to his pitches,” Bosio said. “Since the adjustment he has pitched real well at the bottom of the strike zone. He has pitched pretty good all year, but tonight was pretty special.”

According to ESPN Stats and Information, all eight of Samardzija’s strikeouts came on splitters down or out of the zone. The White Sox, coming off a weekend sweep of Miami, were impressed -- to say the least -- with Samardzija’s two-hitter.

“He was very good tonight,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You just look at some of the at-bats, swing and miss. Even when we hit something it wasn’t hit hard really. He was as good as anybody we have seen”

Samardzija’s complete game shutout was the Cubs’ first since Aug. 29, 2011 when Randy Wells shut out the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.