Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/7/12

By Dave Buscema

The Sports Xchange

NEW YORK -- Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum hoped Jeff Samardzija's last start, when he gave up one run in seven innings in a win against the Braves, would help him forget the pounding the New York Mets put on him last month at Wrigley Field.

It may well have, but the Mets still managed to push just enough runs across on home runs from Ike Davis and Jordany Valdespin for a 3-1 win as Dillon Gee shut the Cubs down Saturday.

The Mets also got a spectacular running, over-the-shoulder catch from shortstop Ruben Tejada in the ninth to thwart a Cubs' rally before it could get going.

A day after the Mets gave up the Cubs' season-high total of 18 hits, Gee (6-7) limited Chicago to seven hits in eight innings.

So Valdespin's solo homer to right in the second and Davis' two-out, two-run shot to right was enough for the right-hander.

Bobby Parnell, closing in place of injured righty Frank Francisco, survived a scare in the ninth for his second save of the season.

Chicago's hot-hitting first baseman Anthony Rizzo doubled to lead off the ninth. Parnell then got Alfonso Soriano on a fly to center for the first out before Bryan LaHair blooped a ball into shallow left-center for what looked like a sure basehit, to put the tying run on.

But Tejada sprinted out and extended his glove hand fully over his head, snaring the ball as Parnell pumped his fist in celebration.

The righty then struck out Steve Clevenger looking to end the game.

Samardzija (6-8) didn't give up much more than the two homers, looking far more impressive than he did when he allowed nine runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings in the 17-1 Mets' thrashing of the Cubs on June 27.

He allowed all three runs on seven hits in seven innings while walking two and striking out four.

But Mets manager Terry Collins' decision to stack the lineup with an extra left-handed hitter in Valdespin, who he started in left field for just the third time this season, paid off.

Valdespin homered in his second straight game and went 2-for-3 as the 24-year-old has impressed his manager enough for him to take a longer look.

"He brings a lot of things," Collins said before the game. "We talked about trying to get him some at-bats to try to get a better gauge on him."

The dedication of Collins and the Mets to continue to get Davis at-bats instead of demoting the 25-year-old first baseman as his average remained under .200 for most of the first half has paid off lately.

Davis' 12th homer of the season in the third inning was an impressive one, banging off the second deck in right field to bring home Tejada, who led off the inning with a single.

Davis has raised his average 47 points in the past month to .205, while also hitting seven homers and driving in 26 runs.

NOTES: Left-hander Johan Santana will get the Mets' first start coming out of the All-Star break next Friday, manager Terry Collins said, adding the condition that Santana's ankle wasn't an issue. Santana said the ankle was sore after getting stepped on covering first Friday, but didn't expect it to be an issue. R.A. Dickey will follow Santana with either Jon Niese or Dillon Gee next and Chris Young taking the fifth spot. … Closer Frank Francisco (left oblique strain) threw off a mound Saturday for the first time since going on the disabled list on June 23. Collins said he hoped Francisco could make a rehab appearance next Wednesday. … Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster, who will be activated from the DL to start Sunday, will also open the second half on Friday after the All-Star break, manager Dale Sveum said. The rest of the rotation will be: Paul Maholm, Matt Garza, Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija. … Interim hitting coach James Rowson, who succeeded fired hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo last month, was doing a "great job" and would be considered for the full-time job next season, Sveum said. "It's a different message and just a fresh new voice, really."

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