Game One Hundred Seven – Cubs 5, Marlins 4
WP – Justin Grimm (1-0) LP – A.J. Ramos (1-1, BS 2) Save – None
Down 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Cubs scored three runs and walked off with a win after A.J. Ramos uncorked a wild pitch with the bases loaded and two outs that allowed Matt Szczur to scamper home with the game winner.
The Cubs were outplayed Wednesday for six innings but Joe Maddon’s team never quit. The Cubs tied the game at one in the sixth inning on a two-out single by Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with one RBI) that plated Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with two walks and one run scored).
John Lackey served up a two-run homer to Jeff Mathis in the seventh. And Christian Yelich took Joe Smith deep in the eighth. The Marlins had a 4-1 lead in the eighth and appeared to be well on their way to salvaging the final game of the series.
Dexter Fowler (1-for-4 with a run scored and a sac fly RBI) and Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with one walk) reached on back-to-back singles in the eighth. Anthony Rizzo worked a walk against his former teammate, Fernando Rodney. Ball four got away from Jeff Mathis and Fowler scored on a wild pitch, 4-2 Marlins. The Cubs put the tying runs in scoring position in the eighth with one out after Ben Zobrist bunted Bryant and Rizzo to second and third. Rodney wiggled out of the jam by striking out Willson Contreras and retiring Jason Heyward (0-for-4) on a grounder to short.
Justin Grimm, back up from Triple-A Iowa, pitched a scoreless ninth and A.J. Ramos took the hill for the Fish to nail down the win for Tom Koehler. The Marlins were 53-0 before Wednesday when leading entering the ninth inning.
The Cubs made A.J. Ramos work but the rally started with a double from Miguel Montero (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) and a single by Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a run scored). With runners on the corners and no outs, Matt Szczur hit for Justin Grimm and walked to load the bases.
Dexter Fowler worked a full count before lifting the sixth pitch of the at-bat to right center. Giancarlo Stanton caught the ball, then juggled it. Montero tagged and scored easily, 4-3 Marlins. Baez and Szczur also moved up 90 feet on the play.
Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a walk) was caught looking at a 3-2 pitch for the second out. The Marlins intentionally walked Anthony Rizzo to load the bases with two down.
Ben Zobrist (1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI) did not chase and worked a walk. Baez jogged in from third and tied the game at four.
Willson Contreras looked at a 94 mph fastball for strike one. Ramos then uncorked the Marlins’ second wild pitch in as many innings. Szczur raced in from third and scored without a slide … Cubs Win! What a finish, the Cubs second walk-off win in four games.
The Cubs found a way to win a game and finished the eight-game homestand 7-1.
On a day the offense struggled for the first six innings against Tom Koehler, two of the Cubs four runs in the eighth and ninth innings scored on wild pitches. A wild pitch in the sixth led to the Cubs’ first runs. The Cubs scored the tying run in the ninth on a bases loaded walk. The Cubs had five walks and nine hits, only three went for extra bases.
The Cubs offense did not adjust to Tom Koehler on Wednesday afternoon. Koehler found a rhythm, pitched backwards and kept the Cubs off balance throughout his six innings of work. The Cubs managed three hits in the first five innings, and two were doubles by John Lackey.
The Marlins jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Dee Gordon had a big day for the Fish and supplied the Marlins offense with a little extra juice in the first inning. Gordon led off the game with an infield single to the hole at short. Gordon beat Javier Baez’s throw. Gordon immediately stole second base. Miguel Montero had no chance, even if his throw had been on line. Martin Prado lined out to second base.
Christian Yelich smoked Lackey’s first pitch to left. Willson Contreras misplayed the ball but it would not have mattered. With an exit velocity in excess of 105 mph, even if Contreras’ first step wasn’t in, the ball would have sailed over his head. Gordon scored, 1-0 Marlins.
John Lackey kept himself in enough control to strikeout Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna to end the inning.
With the offense struggling against Koehler, Lackey kept the Marlins from tacking on and the game went to the sixth with the Cubs trailing 1-0.
Anthony Rizzo singled to right with one out in the sixth. A wild pitch with Zobrist at the plate allowed Rizzo to take second base. Zobrist grounded out second and Rizzo went to third with two outs. Willson Contreras singled to center, Rizzo scored and tied the game at one. Contreras swiped second but Jason Heyward lined out (107 mph exit velocity) to first base to end the inning.
John Lackey could not record three outs in the seventh before giving the lead right back to the Marlins. Lackey hit Derek Dietrich before serving up a two-run homer to Jeff Mathis … 3-1 Marlins.
Christian Yelich made it 4-1 in the eighth when he took Joe Smith out to right.
Carl Edwards Jr. may have recorded the biggest out of the game for the Cubs in the eighth. After Yelich ‘s homer, Smith continued to struggle and gave up back-to-back two out singles to Marcell Ozuna and Miguel Rojas. Maddon went to his pen for Edwards Jr. and the String Bean Slinger struck out Mathis swinging to end the inning.
With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 66-41 on the season.
Thursday is an off-day and the Cubs begin a three-game road trip to the West Coast with the opener on Friday night (9:05pm CDT) in Oakland. Jon Lester is scheduled to face lefty Dillon Overton.