Game Forty-Two – Cubs 5 Marlins 1
WP – Casey Coleman (2-3) LP – Chris Volstad (2-3) Save – None
The Cubs completed the mini two-game series in South Florida with a win behind Casey Coleman … and in the process Q’s squad won their last five games at Sun Life Stadium dating back to last September.
Casey Coleman picked up his second win of the year with a mixed performance. Coleman struggled with his command and issued more free passes (5) than hits surrendered (4). But Coleman was able to make the big pitch when he needed it. Coleman tied a season-high with five walks and struck out a career-high seven batters. Coleman departed with two outs in the sixth and a 3-0 lead. Coleman threw 109 pitches, 60 for strikes, over 5 2/3 shutout innings.
The Marlins only run of the night came via a solo homer by Mike Stanton off Kerry Wood in the eighth. Coleman struck out Stanton each of the three times he faced the Marlins’ slugger.
The Cubs defense (Barney, Pena and Castro) really stepped up behind Coleman early in the game before the offense gave him a little breathing room in the fourth inning.
The Cubs first four hits went for extra bases. Carlos Pena (1-for-2 with a double, a walk, HBP and a run scored) doubled in the second and scored on a double by Reed Johnson (1-for-3 with a double, a RBI, HBP). Following a double by Aramis Ramirez (1-for-5 with a double) to start the fourth, Marlon Byrd (2-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBI) launched his second homer in has many days and his two-run shot gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead.
Starlin Castro drove in a pair with a two-out double in the top of the ninth. Castro finished the game 2-for-5 and has driven in 20 runs over the first 42 games of the season.
Thursday was a solid win but the Cubs RISP woes continued. Q’s squad finished the game 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base.
The Cubs posted back-to-back wins for the first time since May 3 and May 4 (Dodgers) and improved to 19-23 on the season with Thursday’s victory, four games under the mediocre mark … Casey Coleman survived the bottom of the first after issuing back-to-back two-out walks to Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez. Greg Dobbs grounded out to first to end the inning. It took Casey 25 pitches to get through the first inning, only 12 strikes.
Carlos Pena led off the second with a double to right. Marlon Byrd moved Pena to third with a grounder up the middle that Hanley Ramirez picked and made the throw to first (Byrd’s productive out led to the Marlins’ moving their infield in and helped create space for Reed Johnson). With the infield in and one out, Reed Johnson ripped a 1-2 pitch past a diving Dobbs at third. Pena trotted home with the game’s first run.
After a passed ball on a 0-2 pitch to Koyie Hill advanced Johnson to third, Hill struck out swinging and Coleman grounded out to first to end the inning.
Coleman issued his third free pass of the game (Coleman walked three of the first seven batters he faced) to John Buck with one out in the second. Darwin Barney took a hit away from Omar Infante with a diving stop in the hole. Barney looked at second before throwing out Infante from his knees. Chris Volstad lined out to a leaping Carlos Pena to end the inning.
Both the Cubs and the Marlins went in order in the third.
The Cubs added to their 1-0 lead in the fourth … in a big way.
Aramis Ramirez led off the fourth with a double to center. After Carlos Pena struck out looking, Marlon Byrd hurt the first pitch from Chris Volstad. Byrd launched his second home run in as many games into the upper deck in left … 3-0 Cubs. Reed Johnson and Koyie Hill struck out and grounded out to end the inning.
Casey Coleman worked his way in and out of trouble in the bottom of the fourth. Greg Dobbs reached on a one out double to left. Following Mike Stanton’s second strikeout of the night, John Buck singled to left. Dobbs was held at third after he broke late from second … and appeared to miss the third base bag. Omar Infante worked the count to 3-2 before grounding out to short to end the inning. Coleman’s pitch count stood at 73, 41 for strikes, after four complete.
The Cubs went quietly in the top of the fifth … and Casey pitched his way into a little trouble with two outs in the home half of the fifth.
Coleman retired pinch hitter Scott Cousins and Chris Coghlan on strikeouts to start the inning. Hanley Ramirez singled to center on the first pitch and Logan Morrison followed with another two out single to center. Coleman fell behind Gaby Sanchez (3-0) before retiring him on a pop out to third on a 3-1 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs wasted a big chance to tack on a run or two in the top of the sixth.
Starlin Castro led off with a single to right on a 2-2 pitch. A balk was called on Brian Sanches on the first pitch to Aramis Ramirez. Castro advanced to second, then third on a grounded out to first by Ramirez. Carlos Pena was intentionally walked.
With runners on first and third with one out, Marlon Byrd struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch. Reed Johnson was then hit for the fifth time this season to load the bases with two outs for Koyie Hill. Hill flied out to right to end the inning.
After six, the Cubs were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, five left on base.
Casey Coleman could not get through the sixth inning … he just ran out of gas. Coleman retired Greg Dobbs on a ground out to short and struck out Mike Stanton for the third time. Coleman then ended his night by issuing back-to-back two out walks to John Buck and Omar Infante.
Scott Maine made his 2011 debut and retired Wes Helms on a deep fly out to center.
Casey Coleman left in position for his second win of the season. Casey gave up just four hits but walked five to go along with seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 shutout innings. Coleman threw 109 pitches, 60 for strikes.
John Grabow retired three of the four batters he faced in the seventh (two-out single by Logan Morrison) to preserve the Cubs three-run lead.
The Cubs wasted a big chance to add on in the top of the eighth.
Ryan Webb retired Castro and Ramirez on groundouts to second but hit Carlos Pena on a 1-2 offering. Marlon Byrd hit a 0-1 pitch into the corner in right. Pena held at third on Byrd’s double. Reed Johnson put together an impressive at bat but struck out swinging on the 10th pitch of the at bat to end the inning.
Kerry Wood’s recent struggles continued Thursday night. Wood retired Dobbs on a fly out to center to start the inning. Mike Stanton stepped in and hit Wood’s first pitch over the wall in left center. With the Cubs up 3-1, John Buck blooped a single into right.
Wood settled down and retired Omar Infante on a pop out to second … and Emilio Bonifacio struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs were finally able to tack on in the top of the ninth.
Koyie Hill led off with a single to right center. Jeff Baker pinch hit for Kerry Wood and struck out swinging. Fukudome ripped a 2-1 offering from Burke Badenhop into right. Hill held at second with one out.
Darwin Barney popped out to center on a 0-1 offering but his double play partner picked him up. Starlin Castro hit a 1-0 pitch into the gap in left center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall. Hill and Fukudome scored on Castro’s 19th and 20th RBI of the season.
Carlos Marmol pitched the ninth in a non-save situation … and struck out two of the four batters he faced.
The Cubs played their final game at Sun Life Stadium and finished with a 36-36 record in the multi-purpose facility.
The sweep of the Fish almost made the horrible play in Cincinnati a distant memory … almost.
For the first time since the days of Babe Ruth, the Cubs will face the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Cubs and Sox kick off Interleague play Friday night with the first of three between the two storied organizations. Doug Davis will face Jon Lester in game one.