UK Baseball

Ex-Cat Chris Rusin's spot in Cubs' rotation his to lose

SAN FRANCISCO — Rookie Chris Rusin made a fill-in start for the Cubs when Scott Feldman was traded to the Orioles on July 2, then another Monday when Matt Garza was dealt to the Rangers.

Rusin, a 26-year-old left-hander who starred at the University of Kentucky, said after last Monday's victory over the Diamondbacks that the reason he was called up over Brooks Raley was because he was scheduled to pitch that day. But now the spot is Rusin's to lose, and he's making the most of his audition.

Rusin retired the first 13 hitters and threw seven shutout innings Saturday night in the Cubs' 1-0 victory over the Giants.

Nate Schierholtz's solo home run off former teammate Sergio Romo snapped a scoreless tie in the ninth after Pedro Strop escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the eighth.

Rusin didn't allow a hit until there were two outs in the fifth and gave up only three on the night in a dominant outing.

"I actually had regular rest; I was able to follow my regular routine," said Rusin, who had to travel from Triple-A Iowa on short notice for both of his previous starts this season with the Cubs. "It was a lot different than the last game because I was able to control all my pitches and I was able to control my two-seamer. I kept my defense on their toes and we came up with the win."

Manager Dale Sveum was impressed by Rusin's performance.

"Rusin was phenomenal," he said. "He had his sinker working and got a bunch of ground balls and made the strikes when he had to. He did a heck of a job."

Through three starts, Rusin is 1-0 with a 2.93 ERA and nine strikeouts in 151⁄3 innings.

"Each outing I feel more comfortable," he said. "I'm not as nervous as I was."