Game Forty-One – Cubs 7 Marlins 5
WP – Jeff Samardzija (3-0) LP – Edward Mujica (4-2) Save – Carlos Marmol (9)
Reed Johnson tied the game with his second home run of the season in the sixth. Johnson pinch hit for Dempster and hit a two-out, two-run shot off Ricky Nolasco that took Dempster off the hook.
Marlon Byrd broke the 5-5 tie in the eighth with his first home run and RBI since May 4 … and Jeff Baker gave the Cubs a little breathing room later in the inning when he plated pinch runner Tony Campana on a fielder’s choice ground out to third.
The Cubs first two runs were scored on a RBI groundout and a sac fly off the bat of Darwin Barney. The Cubs rookie second baseman continues to show he understands how to play the game.
The Cubs actually mounted two different comebacks on Wednesday after Dempster could not hold onto the first lead he was given. Ryan Dempster struggled with his command once again and gave up four of his five runs in the bottom of the fifth … after the Cubs fought back to take a 3-1 lead in the top of the fifth. Dempster ended up allowing five runs on eight hits with a pair of walks, a hit batsman and three strikeouts in five innings.
Dempster served up another home run Wednesday night, the 11th hit off Dempster in 10 starts this season (56 innings). Dempster failed to retire the Marlins in order Wednesday night. For the Cubs to get back to the mediocre mark they will need for Ryan Dempster to put together a string of successful starts.
Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol kept the Marlins off the board for the final four innings of the game … and Marmol picked up his first save since May 3.
The Cubs won a ballgame in which Koyie Hill (3-for-3 with a double, a sacrifice bunt and three runs scored), Reed Johnson (1-for-1 with a home run and two RBI), Darwin Barney (0-for-4 with two RBI) and Marlon Byrd (1-for-4 with a home run) fueled the offense.
The Cubs out hit the Marlins 13-10 and finished the game 2-for-11 with RISP and left seven on base.
With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 18-23 on the season, five games below the mediocre mark … Ryan Dempster struggled from his first pitch of the game and barely made it through the fifth inning. Once again when his team needed a good outing from him, Dempster could not deliver.
The Cubs went quickly in the first inning against Ricky Nolasco and found themselves in a 1-0 hole early.
Hanley Ramirez came in struggling against right-handed pitching and managed two hits off Dempster, the first was his third homer of the season. Ramirez ripped a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right center. Dempster got out of the first but it was obvious he would not be around long Wednesday night.
The Cubs tied the game in the top of the third after Koyie Hill led off the inning with the Cubs first hit of the game. Dempster sacrificed him to second. Kosuke Fukudome followed with a single to left on a 3-2 offering from Nolasco.
With runners on first and third with one out, Darwin Barney hit a tapper to first that plated Hill with the tying run. Castro popped out to right center to end the inning.
Dempster kept the Marlins off the board in the third and fourth.
The Cubs offense finally gave Dempster a lead in the top of the fifth. For the third inning in a row, Q’s offense put two runners on but was able to plate a couple of runs.
Koyie Hill stuck his bat out and poked a 0-1 offering down the left field line. Dempster could not sacrifice him to third and was thrown out at first after dropping down a bad sac bunt attempt. Kosuke Fukudome reached on an infield single to the hole at second. Hill held at third but scored the go ahead run on a sac fly to right by Darwin Barney.
Starlin Castro then ripped a 0-1 pitch into left. Logan Morrison misplayed the ball and it rolled all the way to the wall. Fukudome scored and gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Aramis Ramirez reached on a throwing error by Greg Dobbs. But with runners on first and third with two outs, Pena struck out looking to end the inning.
Dempster quickly gave up the lead … and then some in the bottom of the fifth
Ricky Nolasco led off the fifth with his second gift of the night. Dempster walked Nolasco on four pitches in third then hit him on a 3-2 pitch to start the fifth. After Chris Coghlan flied out to left, Hanley Ramirez singled to center on a 2-2 pitch … Nolasco held at second with one out.
Logan Morrison hit a deep fly to center. Nolasco tagged and advanced to third.
Gaby Sanchez ripped Dempster’s first pitch into left. Nolasco scored … 3-2 Cubs. Greg Dobbs stepped in and hit Dempster’s pitch into left center. Ramirez and Sanchez scored on Dobbs’ double and gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead. Mike Stanton hit Dempster’s first pitch into left. Dobbs scored as the ball rolled up Soriano’s arm. Travis Buck grounded out on the first pitch he saw to end the inning … and Dempster left with his team down 5-3.
Ryan Dempster just looked off all night. Dempster threw 90 pitches, 57 for strikes in five innings of work.
After Byrd and Soriano went down quickly to start the top of the sixth, Koyie Hill kept the inning going with a single to right. Reed Johnson hit for Dempster and got all of a 2-0 pitch from Nolasco. Johnson hit a two-run shot over the wall in left center … Johnson’s second longball of the year tied the game at five and took Dempster off the hook.
Jeff Samardzija took over in the bottom of the sixth … and could not throw strikes. Samardzija walked Omar Infante on four pitches to start the inning. After falling behind Scott Cousins 3-1, Samardzija struck out Cousins as Infante took second.
Chris Coghlan singled to right on a 2-1 pitch. Infante was held at third with the heart of the lineup due up for the Fish. Samardzija struck out Hanley Ramirez. With Logan Morrison at the plate, Coghlan stole second on a 2-2 pitch. Morrison grounded out to second to end the inning.
Starlin Castro and Aramis Ramirez reached on back-to-back one out singles in the seventh. With the game tied at five, Carlos Pena hit into the Cubs’ second inning ending double play of the night … 4-6-3 on a 0-2 pitch. After seven innings, the Cubs were a miserable 2-for-10 with RISP and six left on base.
Jeff Samardzija issued a two out walk to Mike Stanton in the bottom of the seventh … but that was it and he gave his team a chance to break the tie in the eighth.
Marlon Byrd led off the inning by launching Edward Mujica’s first pitch over the wall in left. Byrd’s second home run of the season and first RBI since May 4 gave the Cubs the lead once again … but they were not done.
Alfonso Soriano reached on a single to left. Tony Campana ran for him again and stole second on the first pitch to Koyie Hill. Hill sacrificed Campana to third with an excellent bunt.
Blake DeWitt was announced as the pinch hitter for Samardzija. Edwin Rodriguez went to his pen and brought in lefty Mike Dunn. Quade went back to his bench and sent up Jeff Baker to hit for DeWitt.
With the infield in, Baker hit a grounder to third. Campana broke for home and scored with a headfirst slide. Campana showed off his excellent speed on the play and scored his second run in as many games. With the Cubs up 7-5 and Baker on first, Fukudome struck out and Barney popped out to second to end the inning.
Sean Marshall retired two of the three batters he faced in the bottom of the eighth. With Wes Helms on first after reaching on a one-out walk, Quade went to his pen and brought in Carlos Marmol to face Hanley Ramirez. Marmol retired Hanley on a fly out to right to end the inning.
Logan Morrison led off the bottom of the ninth with a double down the right field line … but Marmol retired the next three batters he faced to close it out.
Wednesday was a much-needed win … and to the Cubs credit, they never quit.
The Cubs will play their last game at Sun Life Stadium on Thursday night … Casey Coleman versus Chris Volstad.