The Cubs welcomed the Miami Marlins to Wrigley Field for their series opener on a chilly Monday evening. Chicago started off strong again in the 1st inning, with a leadoff single courtesy of Ben Zobrist. Following close behind Anthony Rizzo hit a home run, his 200th career homer, giving the Cubs the early lead. Javier Baez doubled and Willson Contreras was able to bring him home on a deep single, expanding the lead to 3-0.
The Marlins answered in the 3rd with a sharp line drive double by Brian Anderson, bringing home Miguel Rojas. And Miami wasn’t done. Starlin Castro was able bring Anderson home on a sacrifice fly, closing the Cubs lead to just one. Jon Berti served up the equalizer with a solo homer to center field in the 4th. A Kyle Schwarber single with the bases loaded in the 6th broke the tie and gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead.
Miami came from behind in the 9th after Pedro Strop entered and surrendered three walks and a single. Kyle Ryan then came on to get three outs but allowed a runner to score on a mix up that led to an inning ending double play. Kris Bryant blasted a homer in the bottom half of the inning, but it wasn’t enough and the Marlins clinched their tenth win of the season. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
It was a group effort and a group loss. The Cubs’ bats were making contact and getting baserunners through solid hitting and multiple walks, but the Marlins turned four double plays to limit the damage. Strop didn’t help the cause either, when he was unable to record a single out after facing four batters.
The 9th inning meltdown by Pedro Strop cost the Cubs the win. It’s hard to watch a closer go out there and miss the zone with nearly every pitch to multiple batters.
Stats That Matter
- Hamels was good enough: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 7 K, 2 BB
- Rizzo went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, marking his 200th career home run
- Bryant went 1-for-4 with a solo bomb
- Schwarber looked more comfortable tonight, going 2-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Miami was able to capitalize on a less-than-perfect pitching performance by the Cubs staff. Adding in four double plays made this a tough game to win. None-the-less, it’s one the Cubs could have, and arguably should have, won.
The Cubs take on the Marlins again tomorrow at Wrigley for the second game of the four game series. Jon Lester (2-1, 1.73 ERA) will take the mound opposite Miami’s Caleb Smith (3-0) with the first pitch set to be thrown at 7:05 PM CT. The game can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago and heard on 670 The Score.