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Cubs hit 3 HRs, crush Marlins behind Arrieta

June 22, 2017

MIAMI -- In tinkering with a lineup now minus Benjamin Zobrist and Jason Heyward, Cubs manager Joe Maddon stuck with Addison Russell in the fourth spot on Thursday night. Russell cleaned up, collecting four hits, including a home run, and the shortstop was a triple shy of the cycle.Russell, Kristopher

MIAMI -- In tinkering with a lineup now minus Benjamin Zobrist and Jason Heyward, Cubs manager Joe Maddon stuck with Addison Russell in the fourth spot on Thursday night. Russell cleaned up, collecting four hits, including a home run, and the shortstop was a triple shy of the cycle.
Russell, Kristopher Bryant and Willson Contreras homered, and the Cubs rolled to an 11-1 win over the Marlins in the four-game series opener at Marlins Park.
• Russell, Happ step up in heart of order
"He drives in runs. He did that last year," Maddon said of Russell. "If you get guys on base, he's going to give you as good of an at-bat as anyone in that lineup."

Jacob Arrieta worked seven innings, allowing one run on six hits with three strikeouts. Before his start, Arrieta shaved his head in advance of any humidity he might encounter in Miami. Profuse sweating gave him trouble gripping the ball in his last start at Pittsburgh.

"It was just time to take it down," he said. "It was time to take it down and minimize some sweat and let it roll. I've got a decent face, so it doesn't matter if you don't have any hair. It works out."
Russell and Ian Happ each had four hits, and the Cubs had production up and down the lineup in their 16-hit attack.

The only damage the Marlins mustered off Arrieta was Marcell Ozuna's home run to open the second inning. The no-doubt drive to left was the Miami left fielder's 20th of the season.
• Ozuna #ASGWorthy on tough night
"It was pretty much a BP fastball, and he's a really good hitter," Arrieta said. "He was able to find the barrel and keep his hands inside and get the barrel of the bat through the zone."

The Cubs wore down Marlins starter Jeff Locke in the second inning, inducing 34 pitches from the Marlins' left-hander and scoring twice. Arrieta had an RBI infield single in the inning. And in the fourth, Bryant blasted his three-run homer on a 3-1 changeup from Locke, breaking open a four-run lead.
"He didn't look very sharp at all," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Locke, who allowed five runs in four innings. "It didn't look like his stuff was that good. Tonight, he pitched behind in the count. He's another guy who has to be able to get ahead in the count and be able to use his mix. But if he gets in predictable counts, he's going to get hit."
Two-out walk, homer: A four-pitch walk with two outs in the fourth inning proved a pivotal point. The Marlins were within 2-1, and they needed one more out to keep it a one-run game. But Locke walked Anthony Rizzo on four pitches, bringing up Bryant with two on and two outs. On a 3-1 count, Locke hung a changeup and Bryant belted a three-run homer, which Statcast™ projected as traveling 416 feet, with an exit velocity of 105.2 mph.

"It's just a constant struggle so far trying to finish off innings," Locke said. "That's been the No. 1 thing for me. Unfortunately, there's three outs to an inning, not just two. That's what we've had a real hard time with. You can't emphasize it any more. If there's a way just to go out there and get the third with no sweat, geez, we'd be getting it. That's where our hiccup has been right now. That needs to change."
Arrieta gets scoring rolling: The big offensive night for the Cubs started on a ground ball with an exit velocity of 73.6 mph and a hit probability of 10 percent. But Arrieta's grounder to the hole at short was well placed, and it went for an RBI infield single. Batting eighth with one out, Arrieta helped his cause, and he would pitch most of the night with a comfortable cushion.

"It seemed like it went the same way all night," Mattingly said. "Arrieta found the hole, the spot it can't get through, but you can't get an out. The next ball was not hard enough to get [a double play]."
"He's a good hitter. He's been a good hitter," Maddon said of Arrieta. "That was big, his infield base hit, [Mark] Zagunis with the ground ball [to score the second run of the inning]. Moving the baseball and not striking out -- that's something that has hurt us in the recent past in the last few years."

"A night like tonight where we we pitch well and score 11 runs, it looks easy. But it's about consistency and trying to build off of a night like tonight. We've got the guys necessary to do so. So it's a matter of collectively as a group building off of a night like tonight." -- Arrieta
"When we get a big home run, 3-0 [count], from Ozo, you've got to try to keep the game where it is and put the team in position to stay in a game. It just shows how quickly tonight when one thing seems to fall through, myself, it can get out of hand pretty quickly. That's what happened." -- Locke, summing up the night
Just 11 times in Marlins history has a hitter reached 20 homers before the All-Star break like Ozuna did on Thursday. Mike Lowell holds the franchise record with 28 in 2003.
Russell's and Happ's four-hit nights mark the first time since at least 1913 that the Cubs have had two players 23 or younger collect four or more hits in the same game.
The Cubs won a replay challenge in the fifth inning, which resulted in Happ stealing the first base of his career. After singling, Happ took off and catcher J.T. Realmuto made a strong throw, and second baseman Dee Gordon made a swipe tag. But after a review of one minute and 17 seconds, the out call was overturned.

Cubs: Chicago sends John Lackey (5-7, 4.98), who owns a 4.50 ERA in June, to the mound on Friday at 6:10 p.m. CT. The right-hander, who's coming off a win at Pittsburgh, took the loss the last time he faced the Marlins on June 7, surrendering five runs over six innings.
Marlins:Jose Urena, who pinch-ran and scored the tying run on a wild pitch on Wednesday in a win over the Nationals, makes the start on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET against the Cubs at Marlins Park. The right-hander is 5-2 with a 3.64 ERA. He picked up a win this year over Chicago at Wrigley Field.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Patrick Pinak is a reporter for based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Thursday.