Cubs Battle Back and Take Samardzija Off the Hook – Cubs 9, Marlins 7

Game One Hundred Thirty-Nine – Cubs 9, Marlins 7

WP – Carlos Villanueva (4-8) LP – Ryan Webb (2-6) Save – Kevin Gregg (29)

wflag-pubThe Cubs battled back twice on Wednesday, held on late and salvaged the finale of the three game series against the Marlins. The Cubs lost the series two games to one but won four of the seven games with Miami this year.

The Cubs offense hit four home runs that accounted for five of their nine runs and bailed out Jeff Samardzija two times on Wednesday.

Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a home run, a double and two RBI) had another good day at the plate. Castro collected two more extra basehits that included his ninth home run of the year in the third inning, an opposite field shot that tied the game at two. Castro also doubled in Brian Bogusevic in the eighth inning and gave the Cubs a two run lead.

Dioner Navarro (2-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored) drove in three of the Cubs’ runs. Navarro gave his battery mate a 3-2 lead in the third with his 12th longball of the year then cut the Marlins’ lead to one-run in the seventh with a two-run single.

Donnie Murphy (1-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) hit his ninth homer of the season in the seventh, a two-run shot that ended up being the game winner.

Ryan Sweeney (1-for-2 with a home run and two walks) continues to make his case for a job with the Cubs next season. Sweeney homered in the sixth. Darnell McDonald (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) doubled in Junior Lake (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) with the Cubs’ first run in the second inning and Anthony Rizzo (0-for-2 with three walks and a run scored) walked three times and scored a run.

After barely managing a hit over the first two games against the Marlins’ pen, the Cubs scored six of their nine runs on Wednesday in their final three at bats.

Jeff Samardzija was inconsistent again on Wednesday. Seven of the first 10 outs Samardzija recorded were strikeouts and while he struck out nine batters, he also allowed nine hits and two of them left the yard which accounted for all six runs he allowed.

Logan Morrison hit a two-run homer of Samardzija in the second and Adeiny Hechavarria hit a grand slam in the sixth that gave the Marlins a 6-3 lead. An obviously frustrated Jeff Samardzija was lifted after six innings and giving up six runs on nine hits with two walks and nine strikeouts on 110 pitches, 71 for strikes.

Carlos Villanueva was charged with a run on two hits in the seventh and Pedro Strop pitched a perfect eighth. Kevin Gregg tiptoed through the ninth and picked up the save against one of his former teams.

With Wednesday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 59-80 on the season.

After Jeff Samardzija retired the side in order on 14 pitches, nine for strikes, in the first inning and Brian Flynn faced the minimum in the first inning on nine pitches, six for strikes, the Marlins jumped on Samardzija in the second inning.

Giancarlo Stanton reached on an infield single to start the second. Samardzija struck out Ruggiano swinging for the first out. Logan Morrison launched Samardzija’s first pitch. The ball ended up on Sheffield Avenue and the Marlins took a 2-0 lead on Morrison’s fifth longball of the season. Samardzija gave up a single to Hechavarria before striking out Koyie Hill swinging and Brian Flynn looking to end the inning. Samardzija threw 34 pitches, 24 for strikes, over the first two innings.

Brian Flynn made quick work of Dioner Navarro (groundout to short) and Donnie Murphy (swinging strikeout) to start the second. Junior Lake reached on a double to left and kept the inning going for McDonald. Darnell McDonald worked a full count before pulling a double into the gap in left center. McDonald’s first extra basehit and RBI with the Cubs cut the Marlins’ lead in half. Sweeney walked to put two on with two down but Samardzija flied out to right to end the inning. Flynn threw 36 pitches in two innings, 19 for strikes.

After two innings, the Cubs trailed 2-1.

Jeff Samardzija struck out two of the three batters he faced in the third, his best inning of the afternoon. Samardzija threw 44 pitches, 33 for strikes, in three innings.

Starlin Castro led off the third and drove a 2-0 pitch from Flynn out to right. The ball ended up in the basket in right center and Castro’s ninth longball of the season tied the game at two. Barney grounded out to short and Rizzo grounded out to second.

Dioner Navarro lifted a 3-2 pitch just over the wall in center. Navarro gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead with his 12th home run of the year. Murphy flied out to center to end the inning. Flynn needed 53 pitches, 30 for strikes, to complete three innings on Wednesday.

After three innings, the Cubs had a 3-2 lead.

Samardzija struck out Stanton to start the fourth but walked Justin Ruggiano. After Morrison flied out to left center, Samardzija gave up an infield single to Hechavarria. With runners on first and third with two down, Koyie Hill was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning. Samardzija threw 66 pitches, 45 for strikes, in four innings.

The Cubs could not add to their lead in the fourth. Darnell McDonald singled to left with one out. Ryan Sweeney walked. Samardzija bunted McDonald and Sweeney up ninety feet. With runners on second and third, Starlin Castro lined out to right to end the inning.

Samardzija faced the minimum in the fifth after giving up a single to Brian Flynn to start the inning. It took Samardzija 82 pitches, 57 for strikes, to complete five innings.

The Cubs wasted another chance to add on in the fifth. Darwin Barney doubled to left center to start the inning. Anthony Rizzo walked and Mike Redmond decided that was enough for his young lefty. Redmond replaced Brian Flynn with Chris Hatcher.

Donovan Solano made an excellent catch in shallow right to take away a bloop hit from Navarro. Murphy flied out to right and Lake struck out swinging to end the inning. After five innings, the Cubs were 1-for-6 with RISP and left six men on base.

The Cubs led 3-2 after five innings.

Christian Yelich bunted back to Samardzija for the first out in the sixth. Giancarlo Stanton singled to left. Justin Ruggiano singled to center and Samardzija walked Logan Morrison to load the bases.

Samardzija missed on his first pitch to Hechavarria, but the Marlins’ shortstop did not miss Samardzija’s second pitch. Adeiny Hechavarria hit a grand slam to left center … and just like that the Marlins took a 6-3 lead. A visibly frustrated Samardzija served up a double to Koyie Hill. Ed Lucas hit for Hatcher and grounded out to second, Hill advanced to third and was stranded with Coghlan grounded out to first to end the inning.

Ryan Sweeney cut the Marlins’ lead to 6-4 with a solo homer to left center with one down in the sixth. Arquimedes Caminero retired Valbuena and Castro to end the sixth.

After six innings, the Cubs trailed 6-4.

The Marlins added onto their lead against Carlos Villanueva in the seventh. Donovan Solano led off with a triple and scored when Navarro tried to pick him off third and the ball ended up down the left field line. Miami went up 7-4 and the game appeared over at that point. Villanueva got out of the seventh without allowing any more damage.

A.J. Ramos started the seventh for the Marlins and issued back-to-back walks to Darwin Barney and Anthony Rizzo to start the inning. Koyie Hill appeared to get crossed up and a passed ball on a 2-1 offering to Navarro got away from him. Barney and Rizzo moved up ninety feet then scored when Dioner Navarro hit a 2-2 pitch down the third baseline and past a diving Chris Coghlan. Navarro held at first with a single and cut the Marlins’ lead to 7-6.

Mike Redmond went to his pen and replaced Ramos with Ryan Webb.

Donnie Murphy greeted Webb by pulling his first pitch into the bleachers in left. Murphy’s ninth longball of the year gave the Cubs an 8-7 lead. Webb struck out Lake, McDonald and Sweeney swinging to end the inning.

Pedro Strop retired the side in order in the eighth.

Chad Qualls took over for Webb in the eighth and Brian Bogusevic, hitting for Strop, singled to center. Sveum called for a hit and run on a 1-2 pitch to Castro. Starlin Castro drove the ball into right and Bogusevic scored, 9-7 Cubs. Barney struck out swinging and Qualls intentionally walked Rizzo. With runners on first and second with one out, Navarro grounded out to second. Barney and Rizzo moved up ninety feet but were stranded when Murphy struck out swinging to end the inning.

Kevin Gregg took the mound in the ninth with the Cubs up by two runs.

Gregg issued a four-pitch walk to Solano to start the inning. Gregg struck out Yelich swinging (3-2 pitch) before walking Stanton to put two on with one out for Ruggiano. Gregg struck out Ruggiano swinging (3-2 pitch) then got Logan Morrison to pop up a 1-2 pitch to Castro to end the game.

Thursday is an off day for the Cubs. Chris Rusin opens the three-game series against Kyle Lohse and the Brewers on Friday afternoon.

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