Game Twenty-One – Cubs 4, Marlins 3
WP – Shawn Camp (1-1) LP – Steve Cishek (1-3) Save – Carlos Marmol (2)
After a rough start, the Cubs battled back on Thursday night and picked up their first win at Marlins Park in Miami. With the game tied at three and two outs in the ninth, Luis Valbuena (1-for4 with a home run) lined his fourth home run of the season over the wall in right field and gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead. Carlos Marmol then wiggled his way out of a two on, no out jam in the bottom of the ninth and picked up his second save of the year.
Edwin Jackson struggled with his command early on and put his team in a 3-1 hole in the second inning. Jackson settled down and ended up going six innings. Nate Schierholtz (2-for-4 with a home run, a double and two runs scored) had a huge night. Schierholtz doubled with one out in the fourth and scored the Cubs’ second run on a double by Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI). Schierholtz then tied the game at three in the sixth when he pulled his third homer of the season down the right field line … the ball hit the foul pole.
Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a RBI) singled in David DeJesus (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) in the first inning. The Cubs went 2-for-6 with RISP and left four on base.
Edwin Jackson posted his first quality start in a Cubs’ uniform. Jackson gave up three runs on five hits with four walks, four strikeouts and a HBP in six innings. While the numbers say it was a quality start, Jackson really struggled early and his outing was far from a quality start. Jackson ran up his pitch count in the first two innings after a 35-pitch first inning in which Hector Rondon started warming in the pen. Jackson settled down and kept his team in the game. Jackson threw 100 pitches on Thursday night, 59 for strikes.
Hector Rondon was impressive once again. Rondon retired all three batters he faced in the seventh on six pitches, five for strikes. Shawn Camp set down the side in order in the eighth and picked up the win. While Carlos Marmol was not good, he was able to get the job done.
For the first time since 1950, 18 of the Cubs first 21 games have been decided by three runs or less. And it’s been more than 100 years (1908) since the last time the first 21 games of a Cubs season were decided by four runs or less.
With Thursday’s win, the Cubs improved to 7-14 on the season.
David DeJesus led off the game with a double off the wall in left center (1-0 pitch). Starlin Castro stepped in and drove a 1-1 pitch into center. DeJesus scored on a rare hit from the Cubs with runners in scoring position. With the Cubs up 1-0 and Castro at first, Rizzo was caught looking at a 2-2 pitch. Kevin Slowey then plunked Alfonso Soriano with a 2-2 pitch. With runners on first and second with one down, Nate Schierholtz flied out to deep left. Welington Castillo grounded out to short for the third out.
Edwin Jackson labored through a long first inning and gave the run right back to the Marlins. After Pierre grounded out to short to start the inning, Jackson walked Placido Polanco. Giancarlo Stanton ripped a 0-2 pitch into left. Joe Mahoney singled to left to load the bases with one out. Jackson righted the ship temporarily and struck out Justin Ruggiano swinging. But Jackson issues a four-pitch walk to Rob Brantly that forced in Polanco with the tying run. Chris Valaika put together a long at bat that ended with a swing and a miss on a 3-2 pitch for the third out.
Edwin Jackson threw 35 pitches in the first inning, 21 for strikes.
After the Cubs went down in order in the second, Edwin Jackson continued his struggles in the second inning.
Donovan Solano led off the second with a single to right. Kevin Slowey bunted Solano to second. Juan Pierre broke the 1-1 tie with a single to right center. Solano scored easily. Pierre then stole second and third with Polanco at the plate. Jackson walked Polanco and the Marlins had runners on first and third with one out.
Giancarlo Stanton pulled a 1-1 pitch to the hole at short. Castro fielded the ball and threw to second to force Polanco but Stanton beat Barney’s throw to first. Pierre scored, 3-1 Marlins. Joe Mahoney flied out to Soriano in left to end the inning. Jackson needed 49 pitches, 30 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.
Jackson put together a 1-2-3 third and went onto retired seven in a row as the Cubs started chipping away at the Marlins’ two-run lead.
Nate Schierholtz doubled to right (3-2 pitch) with one out in the fourth. Welington Castillo followed with a double to left. Schierholtz scored, 3-2 Marlins. Valbuena grounded out to second and Castillo advanced to third with one down. Darwin Barney put a charge in a 3-1 pitch and drove the ball to the track in deep center. Ruggiano hauled in the deep drive for the third out … maybe the longest ball Darwin Barney’s ever hit in the big leagues.
The game remained 3-2 until the sixth inning as Edwin Jackson settled in.
Nate Schierholtz tied the game at three with his third longball of the season in the sixth. After Soriano grounded out to short for the first out, Schierholtz pulled a 1-0 pitch from Slowey down the right field line. The ball hit the foul pole and tied the game at three. Castillo struck out swinging and Valbuena grounded out to second to end the inning.
Edwin Jackson survived a rocky sixth inning after hitting Rob Brantly to start the inning. Chris Valaika bunted Brantly to second. After Donovan Solano flied out to left center, Mike Redmond sent up Greg Dobbs to hit for Kevin Slowey. Jackson intentionally walked Dobbs to put runners on first and third with two outs. Juan Pierre hit a bouncer back up the middle that Barney fielded and flipped from his glove to Castro covering second to end the inning. Castro caught the ball with his barehand, it was a slick play by the Cubs’ middle infielders.
After Luis Valbuena broke the three-all tie in the ninth, Carlos Marmol made his way in from the pen and walked Donovan Solano to start the inning. Austin Kearns hit for Steve Cishek and lined a 3-2 pitch into left. Juan Pierre stepped in with runners on first and second with no outs. Pierre was not able to advance the runners. Pierre bunted the ball straight down and Castillo picked it and threw out Solano at third for the first out. Polanco lined out to right center for the second out.
Giancarlo Stanton stepped in with runners on first and second with two outs. Marmol fell behind 1-0 before getting Stanton to chase on a 1-2 pitch to end the game.
Scott Feldman faces lefty Wade LeBlanc on Friday night.