The Cubs entered the day having won five straight games as well as eight straight at Wrigley Field. Unfortunately for Miami, this Cubs hot streak included the first two games of this three-game Windy City series. Jose Urena would be on the mound to try to salvage the final game of the set for Miami.
Urena has had rough outings in two of his last three starts, giving up 13 runs in his last 14.1 innings to nearly double his ERA from 1.91 to 3.80.
Veteran righty John Lackey would toe the rubber for Chicago. He has struggled this year, pitching to a 4-5 record with a 4.90 ERA.
Naturally, the Marlins’ bats would have to cooperate as well, particularly seeing that they only scored three runs over the first two games at Wrigley.
Dee Gordon quickly did his part to change that narrative by leading off the game with an opposite field triple off of Lackey, and would come home two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Christian Yelich to give the Marlins an early 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, the Cubs came back. A two-out double by Anthony Rizzo plated two runs and gave the north-siders a 2-1 lead.
What the Fish needed was a crooked number, and in the fourth inning they got just that. The Marlins got four straight hits to score three runs and take a 4-2 lead. First, J.T. Realmuto tied the game with a solo shot to left-center to give the Cubs fans a ball to indignantly reject and throw back onto the field.
Then, Derek Dietrich singled and Tyler Moore doubled to put runners at second and third. This brought up the easy-to-root-for rookie and University of Kentucky product J.T. Riddle, who promptly lined a first pitch cutter to center to plate both Dietrich and Moore and put the Fish up 4-2.
In the fifth, All-Star candidate (please vote!) Marcel Ozuna hit a towering, arcing shot to left-center field to extend the lead to 5-2.
However, as everyone knows, you can’t turn your back on this Cubs offense. A large contributing factor to the Cubs’ recent success is that they have also hit at least one home run in eleven straight games. This streak would continue on Wednesday night. Touted rookie Ian Happ hit his fifth homer of the year to left-center field to pull the Cubs closer and made it a 5-3 game.
In a bizarre play in the top of the seventh, a third strike against Giancarlo Stanton got by Cubs catcher Miguel Montero. Stanton ran to first and was thrown out by Montero while Dee Gordon came around to score from second when no one bothered to cover home for the Cubs, leaving a free path for Gordon to score a big insurance run.
The next stage of this see-saw affair saw another power jolt for the Cubs with a home run to center for Kyle Schwarber off reliever David Phelps to get the Cubs to within two.
Nick Wittgren came out of the pen for Miami in the bottom of the eighth, but was pulled after Kyle Schwarber struck again with his second double of the night to score Jon Jay and pull the Cubs within one run, 6-5.
Then, Mattingly decided to bring in closer A.J. Ramos early to put out the fire. Ramos has not blown a save all season, and he would not disappoint the skipper tonight, either. In another clutch performance, Ramos got Ian Happ to offer at a breaking ball in the dirt to end the threat in the eighth. He would get his ninth save of the season after retiring the Cubs in the ninth inning.
Jose Urena ended up going five innings for the Marlins, giving up three runs on three hits, while walking three and striking out five. Overall, a so-so outing, but enough to get the win and salvage the series.
The Fish now head to Pittsburgh to start a four game set tomorrow night at 7:05 against the Pirates. This will be the first start for Edinson Volquez after his no-hitter against Arizona on June 3.
Turning Point: The single by J.T. Riddle in the fourth
Kingfish: Ramos, who got his ninth straight save of the season against a tough lineup.
Flounder: Miguel Montero of the Cubs for not covering home plate and allowing Gordon to score from second on a dropped third strike.