Bour powers up again as Marlins outduel Cubs
CHICAGO -- Christian Yelich hit a solo homer and Justin Bour clubbed his fourth blast in his past four games to power the Marlins to a 2-1 victory Friday, ending the Cubs' three-game win streak in front of 41,212 at Wrigley Field.
Bour's tie-breaking homer came with two outs in the sixth off starter Jason Hammel and landed in the basket rimming the right-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. The Cubs' starter had retired 14 in a row before the home run.
"To homer in any park is cool," said Bour, who now has 10 on the season. "But it is very nice that it came at an opportunity to help us win the game."
Hammel, who now has a 1.73 ERA in his last six starts at Wrigley, also served up Yelich's home run in the first inning.
"It [stinks] that the two mistakes you have leave the yard, and it costs the team the game," Hammel said.
Tom Koehler, making his eighth start since a brief bullpen stint, picked up the win, giving up five hits over six innings. The Marlins won their fourth straight for the first time since winning five in a row from April 22-26. More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bour ties Miami mark: When Bour launched his two-out home run to right in the sixth inning off Hammel, it marked the fourth home run in as many games for the left-handed-hitting first baseman. A former Cubs farmhand, acquired in the Triple-A phase of the 2013 Rule 5 Draft, Bour matched a Marlins record of homering in four straight games. It's been done on numerous occasions, the last by Marcell Ozuna -- Sept. 8-11, 2014. More >
Break in the action: Maybe a day off did help Kris Bryant. Back in the lineup Friday after missing one day, his first break since he was promoted from Triple-A on April 17, Bryant doubled with two outs in the first and scored on Miguel Montero's single to tie the game at 1. Bryant also stole second in the eighth.
"The Cowboy" connects: A.J. Ramos locked down his 13th save, but it didn't come without some drama. Ramos helped his cause in the ninth inning, throwing out Chris Coghlan at second base on Jonathan Herrera's sacrifice bunt attempt. Ramos gambled and threw a strike to second, while shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria gave a first baseman-like stretch, securing the first out. It was a big out in what turned into a scoreless frame.
"We call [Ramos] 'The Cowboy' for a reason," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. "He's not afraid to saddle up, and he likes it. The play he made there on that bunt, and first of all, not be afraid to do it. I think that's tremendous.
"We preach, 'one sure out.' He felt confident to do it. Made a great throw. Hechy stretched out and we were able to get it. That was big to keep that tying run off second base."
Cubs' relief: The Marlins loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, and reliever Travis Wood had a chance to get out of the jam when J.T. Realmuto popped up in foul territory. Bryant and shortstop Addison Russell gave chase, but they collided and the ball dropped, with Russell charged with an error. Wood then struck out Realmuto to end the threat.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that's normally the shortstop's play.
"I think that primarily because of the crowd noise, they didn't hear each other communicate," Maddon said. "Apparently [Russell] was calling it and then [Bryant] called it at the very end, and that's where the breakdown occurred. But we were able to pitch through it."
"It's good right now. I think they're understanding the importance of grinding out their at-bats. We're putting the game in motion. We're stealing bags. I think they're seeing the importance now of the little things. They give you the opportunity for runs, and [they're] putting runners in scoring position. I think that's big. The starting pitching has given us that chance to go and do the things we need to do to win those one-run games." -- Jennings, after Miami's third straight one-run win
"It's a big difference than last year. Right now, these games mean something. We're confident in what we can do and we're playing tight ballgames. All this is doing is preparing us for a shot at the playoffs, because this is what every playoff game is like -- one-run games, tight, every pitch matters, all pressure-packed innings. We're playing good ball." -- Hammel, when asked about the difference between now and a year ago, when he was traded on July 4 from the Cubs to the Athletics
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Friday was the Cubs' 33rd one-run game, most in the Major Leagues. They are 19-14 in those games, and the 19 wins in one-run contests also is tops in the Majors.
Marlins: Jarred Cosart (1-3, 4.12 ERA), back in the rotation after a brief stint in the bullpen, draws the middle game of the series on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET at Wrigley Field. Cosart's last start was May 13 at the Dodgers. He went on the disabled list a few days later due to vertigo, and returned to throw four innings of relief on June 26.
Cubs: Clayton Richard, acquired from the Pirates for cash considerations on Friday, will make his Cubs debut on Saturday, getting the start against the Marlins. Richard, 31, was a 2005 White Sox Draft pick, and he has pitched in 147 games in the big leagues, making 129 starts. He underwent shoulder surgery in July 2013, and this year, he was 4-2 with a 2.09 ERA in nine starts at Triple-A Indianapolis. First pitch is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. CT.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.