Jeff Samardzija allows one hit over eight innings in beating Pirates

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In a pitcher’s duel that included just six hits, the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija was a little better than the Pirates’ Erik Bedard Monday, leading to a 2-0 win for the Cubs.

Andrew McCutchen’s infield single in the fourth was the only hit Samardzija gave up in eight innings of work. The Pirates got another single in the ninth off Carlos Marmol, but they never threatened in the contest.

Bedard was also exceptional, striking out 11 over seven innings. He allowed only one run and two hits, yet he fell to 5-11 for the season.

Samardzija was hoping for a chance at his first career complete game tonight, but manager Dale Sveum said he opted against sending him back out after a 27-minute top of the ninth inning. “I don’t think on his Christmas list right now,” Sveum said afterwards.

Bouncing back from a rough June in which he went 0-4 with a 10.41 ERA, Samardzija is now 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts this month.

Brandon Crawford homers off brother-in-law Gerrit Cole

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You can’t pick your family and no one knows that better than Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. His sister Amy married Astros starter Gerrit Cole in November 2016, so the two players are brothers-in-law.

The two players have matched up against each other 18 times in the past, as Cole spent his first five seasons in the National League with the Pirates. Cole often won that battle, holding Crawford to four hits — all singles — in 18 plate appearances.

Crawford finally got the better of Cole on Tuesday night, hitting a line drive into the appropriately-named Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park for a two-run home run, cutting the Astros’ lead to 5-2.