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Marlins fumble lead away, lose 5th straight

Sloppy defense ignited a Cubs rally, and as usual, Miami’s offense barely showed up.

Miami Marlins right fielder Peyton Burdick (6) can t make a play on Chicago Cubs designated hitter Trey Mancini (not pictured) during the eighth inning at Wrigley Field. David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, Skip Schumaker called for “cleaner baseball” from his team. On Saturday, the Miami Marlins responded with one of their dirtiest innings of the season, blowing a late lead to the Chicago Cubs in the process and suffering their fifth straight loss.

The day began on a curious note when Schumaker scratched plans to have Bryan Hoeing start to the game, instead opting for “opener” Matt Barnes.

Barnes had a 1-0 lead before even taking the mound thanks to a Marlins rally in the top of the first against Drew Smyly. Bryan De La Cruz worked a long plate appearance against the journeyman left-hander and put the Fish in front with an RBI single.

When Hoeing eventually entered in the third, the lead had been extended to 2-0, courtesy of a Jorge Soler solo home run. It was an all-around good game for Soler—he went 2-for-3 with a walk in the game while playing the outfield for the first time since April 27.

Hoeing was alright. Underscoring the Marlins’ lack of trust in him as a starter, he was limited to just 45 pitches (3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K).

Typically used as the Marlins closer, Schumaker inserted A.J. Puk into the eighth inning instead, clinging to a 2-1 advantage. Matchups against Cody Bellinger and other left-handed batters made it the “perfect lane” for Puk, the manager said postgame. “He did everything he was supposed to do. We just didn’t play catch.”

Defensive mistake No. 1: Puk gets Bellinger to hit a grounder back to him, but Yuli Gurriel drops the throw.

Defensive mistake No. 2: Trey Mancini “doubles” to shallow right field when Peyton Burdick loses the ball in the sun, putting the potential go-ahead run in scoring position.

Defensive mistake No. 3: Puk strikes out Matt Mervis, but then Nick Madrigal delivers a two-run single past the diving Gurriel. The mistake is on Burdick for airmailing to throw to home plate, ensuring that Madrigal moves up to second.

Defensive mistake No. 4: Xavier Edwards charges a soft grounder up the middle and it goes underneath his glove. Madrigal scores from second.

Defensive mistake No. 5: Even though it didn’t lead to any additional damage, Edwards lets Miguel Amaya slide in front of him on the stolen base attempt and the ball deflects into the outfield.

Only two “errors” charged to the Marlins during that meltdown. The box score doesn’t come close to telling the full story.

Adbert Alzolay pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to earn his second career save.

Additional Info

  • The Marlins are still undefeated in one-run games!
  • Luis Arraez’s hitting streak is up to nine in a row.
  • This was Matt Barnes’ first “start” since 2015 and only the third of his MLB career.
  • Huascar Brazoban, who handled the bottom of the seventh, has had nine straight scoreless relief appearances covering 11 23 innings pitched. Brazoban lived on the edge in this one, issuing a pair of walks and taking Seiya Suzuki to a full count with the bases loaded, but he ultimately escaped.
  • Chi Chi González made his Marlins debut, recording the final two outs of the eighth.
  • Home plate umpire Jim Wolf had a large strike zone, but it seemed equally generous for both pitching staffs.
  • Double plays continue to hold back the Marlins offense. Yuli Gurriel grounded into one, while Jorge Soler and Jon Berti were involved in a strike ‘em out/throw ‘em out DP.
  • Johnny Cueto began a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Jacksonville, tentatively putting him on track to take over the Hoeing/bullpen day rotation spot in the near future. Well, don’t hold your breath. The 37-year-old pitched very poorly through 2 13 innings, then suffered an apparent foot/ankle injury while covering first base.

Skip Schumaker’s Postgame Press Conference

Win Probability Chart Baseball Savant

To avoid a series sweep and a winless week, the Marlins will turn to rotation leader Sandy Alcantara. You’d typically feel confident about that, but Miami is winless in Alcantara’s starts this season with the exception of the one game he completed himself. Chicago’s starter will be right-hander Hayden Wesneski. Like the other games of this series, first pitch is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. ET.