Game Twelve – Cubs 1, Marlins 9
WP – Mark Buehrle (1-2) LP – Matt Garza (1-1) Save – None
The Chicago Cubs were beat in all phases of the game Wednesday night in Miami. Matt Garza did not have it in his first start following his gem against the Brewers. Garza was knocked out of Wednesday’ game in the sixth inning before he was able to record an out.
Matt Garza allowed six runs, all earned, on seven hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in five-plus innings. The Marlins hit two big flies off Garza that accounted for four of the six runs.
Lendy Castillo and Rodrigo Lopez pitched the last three innings and were just as ineffective as Garza. Castillo gave up a run on three hits in his inning of work. Lopez surrendered the Marlins’ final two runs on four hits with a pair of walks and a strikeout in two innings.
On the other side, Mark Buehrle was in control throughout his outing. The veteran southpaw had his way with the Cubs once again. It is fitting that Mark Buehrle’s first win as a National League starting pitcher came at the Cubs’ expense. Buehrle allowed one run on six hits with five strikeouts and no walks in eight innings.
Jeff Baker (2-for-4 with a double and a run scored) scored the Cubs only run of the night. Starlin Castro (1-for-3) and Darwin Barney (1-for-4) managed two of the Cubs six hits. The offense was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, left four on base and grounded into two more double plays … in the last two games, the Cubs have grounded into six double plays.
For only the second time on the young season, the Cubs did not look prepared to play and they appeared to quit during the long bottom of the sixth inning.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 3-9 on the season … Mark Buehrle made quick work of the Cubs in the first. Reed Johnson (ground out to short), Darwin Barney (ground out to short) and Starlin Castro (3-1 pitch, fly out to center) went down in order.
Matt Garza faced the minimum in the first after Jose Reyes led off the bottom of the first with a single to right. Emilio Bonifacio ripped a 2-2 pitch to short. Starlin Castro fielded the ball, stepped on second and fired to first to complete the 6-3 double play. Garza fell behind Hanley Ramirez 3-0 before battling back and striking him out swinging to end the inning.
Alfonso Soriano predictably struck out swinging to start the second. Jeff Baker followed with the Cubs’ first hit of the game, a single to left. Ian Stewart popped out to first and Geovany Soto struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Marlins did nothing against Garza in the second … and Buehrle made quick work of the Cubs in the top of the third. Buehrle struck out four of the first nine batters he faced.
Matt Garza lost his command in the third. John Buck walked on four pitches to start the inning. Donnie Murphy, subbing for Omar Infante, lifted a 2-1 mistake over the wall in left … and just like that the Cubs were in a 2-0 hole. Garza retired Buehrle on a foul out to Stewart and struck out both Reyes (swinging) and Bonifacio (looking) to end the inning.
But the damage had been done and after three, the Cubs trailed 2-0.
Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro started the fourth with back-to-back singles … but Soriano struck out swinging (again) and Jeff Baker hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the fourth. Buehrle threw only 53 pitches, 33 for strikes, in four innings.
Hanley Ramirez fouled out to first and Logan Morrison flied out to left to begin the bottom of the fourth. Giancarlo Stanton ripped a 1-1 pitch into center for a two-out single. Gaby Sanchez then reached on a swinging bunt to third. Sanchez hit a dribbler to Stewart that the Cubs’ third baseman tried to barehand. Stewart bobbled and Sanchez was given a hit. John Buck walked for the second time in as many at bats to load the bases for Donnie Murphy.
Matt Garza did not serve one up to Murphy in the fourth. Garza struck him out swinging on a 1-2 breaking ball to escape the jam. After four, Garza’s pitch count stood at 66, 40 for strikes.
The Cubs put two on in the fifth again … and once again came up empty.
Ian Stewart flied out to left for the first out in the fifth. Geovany Soto then reached on a fielding error by Hanley Ramirez. The former shortstop could not handle the ball hit toward the line. Marlon Byrd ended a 0-for-11 slide with a single to center.
With runners on first and second with one out, Matt Garza was able to get a bunt down (2-2 pitch) … but he bunted the ball right back to the mound. Buehrle threw out the slow-footed Soto easily and Reed Johnson grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Marlins tacked on to their lead in the bottom of the fifth … and the Cubs got to see the contraption in center do its thing again.
Garza struck out Mark Buehrle looking after being behind 3-1. Jose Reyes hit a routine fly to center for the second out … but Emilio Bonifacio dropped a perfect bunt up the third baseline on the first pitch from Garza and reached easily.
Hanley Ramirez cranked a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left center … 4-0 Marlins. Garza struck out Morrison swinging on his 81st pitch of the game (50 for strikes) to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Mark Buehrle in the sixth.
Matt Garza started the sixth … but could not finish the inning after he issued a leadoff walk to Giancarlo Stanton and Gaby Sanchez smacked a 2-2 pitch into the gap in right center. Stanton scored the Marlins’ fifth run … and knocked Garza out of the game. Matt Garza was visibly upset with homeplate umpire Brian O’Nora for some of his calls Wednesday night and he shook his head while mumbling to himself on the way to the dugout.
Lendy Castillo replaced Garza and retired John Buck on a pop out to second. Donnie Murphy followed with a single to left on a 2-1 pitch. Murphy was given a double because the Cubs’ defense fell asleep. Soriano fielded the ball and tossed into the infield. Murphy hustled out of the box and cruised into second. Sveum brought his infield in and Mark Buehrle recorded his first RBI since 2009 with a single to right past the drawn in infield. Stanton scored, 6-0 Marlins. Jose Reyes hit a sac fly into left center. Murphy tagged and scored, 7-0 Miami. Castillo gave up a single to Bonifacio and the inning finally came to an end when Hanley Ramirez flied out to left.
After six, the Marlins led 7-0. With the Cubs anemic offense and Mark Buehrle on the mound, the game was well over at that point.
The Cubs finally put a run on the board in the top of the seventh after Jeff Baker led off with a double to left center. Buehrle uncorked a wild pitch on the first offering to Stewart. Baker advanced to third and scored when Stewart grounded out to first … 7-1 Marlins. Geovany Soto flied out to center and Marlon Byrd tapped back to the mound to end the inning.
Rodrigo Lopez took over in the bottom of the seventh and did not fare any better than Matt Garza or Lendy Castillo.
Lopez issued a leadoff walk to Logan Morrison. Chris Coghlan ran for Morrison and advanced to second on a one out single by Gaby Sanchez. John Buck hit a chopper toward third. Stewart tried to pick it on a short hop but missed. Buck was given a single and the bases were loaded with one out.
Donnie Murphy’s career night continued. Donnie Murphy lifted a 3-1 pitch into center. Coghlan scored, 8-1 Marlins. With runners on first and third with two down, Mark Buehrle struck out looking to end the seventh.
Joe Mather led off the eighth with a single but was erased when Reed Johnson grounded into a double play … the second time the Cubs grounded into a double play on Wednesday night and the sixth time in two games. Darwin Barney flied out to center to end the eighth.
The Marlins kept hitting and scoring in the bottom of the eighth.
Jose Reyes led off the eighth with a triple to the corner in left. Bonifacio popped out to short for the first out. Lopez walked Hanley Ramirez to put runners on first and third with one out. Chris Coghlan hit for the first time and ripped a 2-1 pitch up the middle. Barney fielded the ball, tossed to Castro to force Ramirez as Reyes scored … 9-1 Marlins. Stanton singled to left and Sanchez flied out to left for the last out in the eighth.
Blake DeWitt hit for Castro in the ninth … and the Cubs did nothing against Ryan Webb. Game over.
Jeff Samardzija faces Ricky Nolasco in the series finale Thursday morning.
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