Butler gives Cubs 7 relief innings vs. Marlins
Morrow surrenders game-winning single in bottom of the 17th
MIAMI -- After Kyle Hendricks went six innings in his first start of the season, the Cubs didn't expect they'd need another pitcher to go more than that in the same game, but that's what Eddie Butler did.
Butler pitched a career-high seven innings in relief in the marathon 2-1 loss to the Marlins on Friday night. Miguel Rojas smacked a walk-off RBI single with two out in the 17th off Brandon Morrow for the game-winner.
"Our other starter pitched well -- both of our starters pitched well today," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, referring to Hendricks and Butler. "Give Eddie a lot of credit for prolonging that game. We had a lot of opportunities based on innings and outs. We didn't have a whole lot of baserunners. They got us in the end. We've got to do better than 20 punchouts."
The Cubs' offensive highlight was Kristopher Bryant's first home run of the season, which came in the third inning. The Marlins tied it on Starlin Castro's RBI single in the bottom half, and that was all the scoring until the 17th.
Butler was the last player to make the Cubs' 25-man Opening Day roster. The team had one spot open in the bullpen, and the right-hander, who is out of options, was picked, partly because he could provide some length. He didn't expect that would happen in the second game of the regular season.
Butler could tell that it was his game, though.
"I knew it from the get go," Butler said. "I knew it was my game until we got the lead and then we'd hand it over to 'B-Row' and he'd take care of business. They came up to me after every inning and asked, 'How are you feeling?' and I said, 'I can keep going, just give me the ball.'"
Maddon had asked Morrow to warm up a couple times earlier in the game. That wasn't the reason for the loss. The Cubs simply struck out too many times and left 15 runners on base.
"You don't want that first [win] to take too long to get, because then you start pressing and things like that," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Any type of game like that, you fight for, and win, 2-1, that's a battle. We know how good the Cubs are. It's one of those wins that feels really good for our club."
Butler, who has been a starter most of his career, wasn't sure how much time he'll need to recover. The Cubs were considering roster moves after the game to add to the bullpen.
"This is what I want to do," Butler said. "I'm here to help this team. I helped save our bullpen. There are going to be guys who will be fresh tomorrow."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Zig-zag out of trouble: Marlins closer Brad Ziegler worked out of trouble in the ninth inning after the Cubs put two on with two out. Ziegler was inches away from a clean inning, but he was unable to make a play on Albert Almora Jr.s chopped grounder. The ball deflected off Ziegler's glove and Castro at second wasn't able to field the ball cleanly. Bryant was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second. But Ziegler retired Anthony Rizzo on a fly ball to center.
Loaded and left in 15th:Jarlin Garcia wiggled out of a major jam in the 15th inning, after having the bases loaded and one out. Victor Caratini walked, becoming the first baserunner allowed in six innings by Garcia. Bryant singled, and was forced out at second on Rizzo's grounder to second. The Cubs challenged the out at second, but the ruling stood. Willson Contreras was intentionally walked, and Garcia got Jason Heyward to ground to first base. Derek Dietrich stepped on the bag, and threw home, and Caratini was tagged out.
"That was the perfect game for it, obviously. I think the whole pace of play thing is pretty silly at times. If you want to put a runner on second base, we would've loved it today." -- Bryant, when asked if he'd like to see the Major Leagues start a runner at second base in extra inning games, which the Minor Leagues are testing this season
"Brinson gave me the Gatorade bath, and the pie, but they have to get better, with the monkey mask. People were waiting for the monkey. I'm sorry guys, I was the guy today. But I'm going to be there tomorrow." -- Rojas, on being smeared with shaving cream after the game. Usually, it is Rojas wearing a monkey mask and doing the walk-off honors
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Butler, the last player named to the 25-man roster, pitched seven innings in relief, topping his career high of six. It's the longest relief appearance by a Cubs pitcher since Scott Sanderson went eight on Aug. 6, 1989.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The first review of the series came in the fifth inning after Dietrich was called out at first, which at first appeared to complete a 5-4-3 double play. The Marlins challenged that Dietrich was safe, and after a review of 51 seconds, the call was overturned. But the next batter, Castro, bounced into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
In the 15th inning, the Cubs challenged a fielder's choice grounder by Rizzo. On the play Castro forced Bryant at second, and the call was ruled to stand, claiming shortstop Rojas had the out.
Cubs: Right-hander Yu Darvish will make his Cubs debut at 6:10 p.m. CT on Saturday in the third game of this four-game series. This will be his first career start at Marlins Park. Darvish, who signed a six-year deal in mid-February, has faced the Marlins twice, throwing a six-hit shutout in June 2014, and giving up 10 runs over 3 2/3 innings last July 26.
Marlins: Friday's game lasted so long that Saturday's scheduled starter Odrisamer Despaigne entered in relief in the 17th inning on Friday. So Miami may have to go with a backup plan.
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