ATLANTA — Forget the money in those dead-end contract negotiations. A few runs might look a lot more valuable to Jeff Samardzija these days.
The National League’s tough-luck starter pitched six more scoreless innings Saturday against the Atlanta Braves — returning from a rain delay of more than hour to resume throwing — and remained winless for the 14th consecutive start dating to August.
The Braves scored twice in the seventh off rookie Brian Schlitter, who replaced Samardzija, to beat the Cubs 2-0. The Cubs suffered their sixth loss in seven games.
Samardzija lowered his ERA to 1.45 through eight starts this season — second only to the Cincinnati Reds’ Johnny Cueto (1.43) — allowing two singles, a walk and a hit batter.
Samardzija, who threw a career-high 128 pitches Monday, was pulled after 69 pitches Saturday.
The Cubs had runners in scoring position twice in the first four innings, including Starlin Castro after a leadoff double in the second, but failed to score against Braves starter Ervin Santana (4-0), who went seven innings.