A High-Five for Q’s Cubs – Cubs 5 Marlins 3

Game One Hundred Forty-Eight – Cubs 5 Marlins 3
WP – Casey Coleman (2-2) LP – Anibal Sanchez (12-10) Save – Carlos Marmol (33)

wflag.jpgThe Chicago Cubs posted their fifth straight win Saturday night … the longest winning streak of the season and the first time since July of 2009 the Cubs have won five games in a row.

Not only did the Cubs guarantee themselves a rare winning trip to Florida, but they also improved to 7-1 on the trip behind a shaky, but effective performance by Casey Coleman.

Casey Coleman labored through a 31-pitch first inning before he settled down. Coleman completed six innings of work for the fifth time in as many starts. Coleman picked up his second big league win after allowing three runs on five hits with four walks and five strikeouts in six-plus innings. Coleman ended up throwing 91 pitches, 55 for strikes, and only 60 in his final five-plus innings. The defense turned two double plays that helped limit the damage against the rookie right-hander.

Coleman did not allow a hit from the second through the sixth and retired nine of ten during that span. Cameron Maybin led off seventh with a double off the wall in left center, the Marlins’ fourth hit and Brad Davis doubled in Maybin before Mike Quade went to his pen.

The Cubs bullpen did its job, with the exception of Justin Berg. Berg allowed an inherited run to score in the seventh. James Russell continued to make his case to be one of the lefty specialists out of the pen in 2011.

Other than a four-pitch walk to Wes Helms, Andrew Cashner was dominant in the eighth. Cashner struck out the side, the Marlins did not put a ball in play and the final out in the eighth was a 99 MPH heater that Brad Davis could not catch up with.

Carlos Marmol added to his strikeout total in the ninth. Marmol sat down the Fish in order with another strikeout.

The Cubs offense once again did just enough to win a game. Four of the Cubs five runs scored on doubles by Marlon Byrd, Aramis Ramirez and Blake DeWitt. The Cubs first run of the game scored on the second throwing error of the night by the Marlins’ catcher, Brad Davis.

With Tyler Colvin on second and Blake DeWitt at first, Starlin Castro worked the count to 3-2. Mike Quade started both runners and Castro took an inside pitch for ball four. The pitch was close and Davis threw to third. Helms did not cover the bag and the ball ended up in left field. Colvin scored and tied the game at one.

The Cubs scored four times in the fifth with a little help from Davis and Helms.

Mike Quade’s offense managed only seven hits and finished the game 4-for-14 with RISP and left 10 on base.

With the win Saturday night, the Cubs improved to 16-7 under Mike Quade and won for the 67th time in 2010 (67-81), still 14 games under .500 … The Cubs have shown improvement under Mike Quade. They are playing with more energy and seem to care, a positive step forward from what appeared to be an indifferent group of players for the first four and a half months of the season.

The Marlins jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first … and it could have been worse. Logan Morrison ripped a 2-0 pitch from Casey Coleman off the wall in left. Morrison ended up at second on the double. Morrison reached base for 37th game in a row.

Gaby Sanchez grounded the first pitch he saw to Castro at short. Morrison had to hold as Nady made Derrek Lee-like scoop to save Castro another error.

Mike Stanton singled to center and plated Morrison with the game’s first run.

Casey Coleman then walked Wes Helms to load the bases with two outs … before Cameron Maybin grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Anibal Sanchez kept allowing the Cubs to reach base but he was able to keep them off the board until the fifth.

After sitting the Cubs down in order for the first time in the fourth, Tyler Colvin walked to start the fifth. Casey Coleman finally dropped down a bunt, the first sac bunt of his career. Blake DeWitt walked.

Starlin Castro ran the count to 3-2 then Mike Quade started the runners. Castro took an inside pitch for ball four but Brad Davis threw to third. The pitch was close and Wes Helms was not near the bag. Davis’ throw ended up in left … and the Cubs tied the game at one after Colvin scampered home on the second error of the game by the Marlins’ catcher.

Marlon Byrd, who had two chances early in the game with runners in scoring position, hit a chopper off the dirt in front of plate that ended up bouncing over Helms’ head into left field. DeWitt and Castro scored … 3-1 Cubs. Byrd ended up at second

Aramis Ramirez followed and hit a high drive into left field. For the second game in a row, Logan Morrison lost the ball and it ended up falling behind him and rolling to the wall. Byrd scored on Ramirez’s gift double … 4-1 Cubs.

Casey Coleman retired nine of ten batters from the second through the sixth but could not record an out in the seventh. Coleman had allowed only three hits (four walks) before he took the hill to start the seventh … then gave up back-to-back doubles to Cameron Maybin and Brad Davis. The Marlins cut the Cubs lead to 4-2 and chased Coleman from the game.

Scott Cousins was announced as the pinch-hitter for Jorge Sosa and Mike Quade made the quick trot to bring in James Russell to face the lefty Cousins.

Russell fell behind 2-0 before throwing three fastballs and striking out Cousins for the first out. Quade made the fast trot again and brought in Justin Berg to face Emilio Bonifacio.

Bonifacio hit a chopper to Nady at first. Nady made a nice snag, held Davis at third and tossed the ball to Justin Berg just ahead of the speedy Bonifacio. Logan Morrison stepped in and made it 4-3 with a single to center. Berg fell behind Morrison 2-1 and left another ball up in the zone.

Gaby Sanchez hit a bullet down the third base line off Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez played another ball off to his side and it was ruled an infield single. With runners on first and second with two outs, Dan Uggla strolled to the plate.

Uggla popped out to Starlin Castro to end the inning.

The Cubs tacked on a run in the eighth. Geovany Soto walked to start the inning against Burke Badenhop. Soriano flied out to center on the first pitch. Tyler Colvin worked the count to 2-2 before dropping a single into right. Kosuke Fukudome was announced as the pinch-hitter for Justin Berg … and Jose Veras was brought in to face Kosuke.

Fukudome popped out to short on the second pitch. Blake DeWitt delivered a big two-out RBI double. DeWitt reached out and popped the ball down the left field line. Soto scored and Colvin held at third. Starlin Castro put together another long at bat but struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Andrew Cashner kept it 5-3 with an impressive bottom of the eighth. Cashner walked a batter on four pitches … but struck out the side. The Marlins did not put a ball in play.

Carlos Marmol notched his 33rd save with a perfect ninth. Marmol sat down Florida in order on just nine pitches.

Look, who would have thought the Cubs could win five in a row this season?

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Jeff Samardzija and several of the Cubs rookies will face lefty Andrew Miller in the finale of the series against Florida Sunday afternoon.