Clutch Pitching Shuts Out the Fish – Cubs 2 Marlins 0

Game One Hundred Forty-Seven – Cubs 2 Marlins 0
WP – Ryan Dempster (14-10) LP – Alex Sanabia (4-3) Save – Carlos Marmol (32)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs improved to 15-7 under Mike Quade with a rare win Friday night in Miami. Ryan Dempster picked up where he left off against the Brewers and put together another tremendous outing. Dempster pitched seven innings of shut out ball and allowed only four hits … with three walks and five strikeouts.

Ryan Dempster reached the 200-inning mark for the third season in a row Friday night. Dempster more than earned his 14th win of the year, especially late in his outing. Dempster entered the seventh inning on a hot and humid night in Miami with a pitch count one short of the century mark (99). Dempster pitched out of a major jam (second and third with no outs) with one of his best single innings of the season.

Ryan Dempster threw 123 pitches, 72 for strikes, before turning the game over to the pen.

Andrew Cashner was more than shaky in the eighth but Sean Marshall was able to bail him out without allowing the Marlins to plate a run.

Carlos Marmol walked a pair to start the ninth before settling down and picking up his 32nd save of the season … with a little help from Starlin Castro.

The Cubs’ rookie shortstop had a rough game at the plate and in the field before the ninth. Starlin Castro made a terrific diving catch down the left field line to end the game.

The Cubs have pitched extremely well on the road trip (6-1). Q’s staff surrendered only five hits, walked six and hit a batter but only four Marlins reached third on Friday night (second, sixth, seventh and eighth innings). The Marlins threatened in the last four innings but came away empty. Florida finished the game 1-for-15 with RISP and left 11 on base.

The Cubs defense was both questionable and outstanding Friday night. Geovany Soto picked Logan Morrison off first base to end the first … and Kosuke Fukudome threw out Dan Uggla trying to stretch a bloop single into a double to start the second. Blake DeWitt and Xavier Nady also made solid defensive plays in the win. But Alfonso Soriano misplayed another ball in left and Starlin Castro committed another error (26) and made several other mistakes.

Geovany Soto was in the middle of both of the Cubs’ runs. Soto scored the first on a gift-double by Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) in the second. Soto doubled in Xavier Nady (2-for-4 with a run scored) in the sixth. Nady extended his hitting streak to six games.

Friday night equaled a season-high in consecutive wins for the North Side Nine. The Cubs have won four in a row for only the third time this season (April 23 – April 26, May 16 – May 19).

With Friday night’s win, the Cubs improved to 66-81, still 15 games under the mediocre mark for the year … Ryan Dempster’s last three wins have come via shutouts. Dempster shut down the Nationals back on August 25 (4-0 final) and kept the Brewers off the board in his last outing (1-0 final). Dempster has posted a win in 14 of the Cubs 66 victories this season.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the second on a gift by Logan Morrison. Xavier Nady extended his hitting streak to six games with a one-out bloop double to right. Geovany Soto hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice.

Alfonso Soriano worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a fly into left that Morrison lost in the twilight. Soto was running on the pitch and scored all the way from first … 1-0 Cubs.

Ryan Dempster kept the Marlins off the board and gave his teammates a chance to tack on … and they finally did in the sixth, and it could have been more.

Xavier Nady blooped his second hit into right with two outs. Geovany Soto then launched the first pitch from Alex Sanabia into left center. Nady scored from first … 2-0 Cubs. Alfonso Soriano dumped a single into left on a 1-1 pitch. Ivan DeJesus sent Soto … and even with a bad throw, Soto was out by a mile on a timely throw by Logan Morrison.

Dempster did an excellent job of pitching around miscues by Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro in the sixth and seventh innings.

Alfonso Soriano misplayed a fly off the bat of Logan Morrison into a lead off double in the sixth. Gaby Sanchez followed with a solid hit grounder up the middle. Blake DeWitt made a good play, saved a run and threw out Sanchez at first … as Morrison advanced to third.

Dan Uggla lined out to Aramis Ramirez and Dempster struck out his old nemesis (and former teammate) Chad Tracy to end the inning.

Starlin Castro misplayed a rocket off the bat of Mike Stanton for a two-base error to start the eighth. Cameron Maybin followed with a single to left, Stanton held at third and the Marlins appeared to be in business …

Ryan Dempster got Brad Davis to pop out to Blake DeWitt in foul ground. Wes Helms, who has hammered Dempster during his career (5-for-10 with a double), stepped in with runners on second and third with one out. Dempster struck out Helms swinging on a 2-2 pitch … then got Emilio Bonifacio to swing and miss at strike three to end the inning.

The Marlins put a pair on in the eighth against Andrew Cashner (a single by Gaby Sanchez and a walk to Dan Uggla) before Sean Marshall came in and appeared to get out of the inning with a grounder to second. DeWitt handled the softly hit grounder off the bat of Chad Tracy but Starlin Castro lost the ball in the exchange. With runners on first and third with two outs, Sean Marshall struck out Mike Stanton swinging to end the inning.

While the Cubs were busy going down in order, the Marlins kept pressure on the Cubs’ staff late in the game … but were not able to plate a run.

Carlos Marmol walked Cameron Maybin and Brad Davis to start the ninth before getting bailed out by Scott Cousins. The pinch-hitter swung at Marmol’s first offering and popped out to shallow right center. Marmol then struck out Bonifacio for the second out.

Starlin Castro made a sensational diving, backhanded catch on a ball hit down the line in left. Castro took away extra bases from Logan Morrison and kept the Marlins from possibly tying the game.

The pitching staff really stepped up for the offense on Friday night … and made several big pitches to bail out the defense.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Casey Coleman will face Anibal Sanchez on Saturday night in Miami.