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Marlins lament missed chances vs. Cubs

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The chances for the Marlins were there Monday night -- perhaps none greater than in the seventh inning of a 3-1 loss to the Cubs.

After Marcell Ozuna reached on a single to lead off the inning, the Marlins were spared a double play when Cubs shortstop Javier Baez couldn't handle a ground ball hit sharply at him. Ozuna then advanced to third on a wild pitch from Mike Montgomery, giving the Marlins a runner 90 feet from the plate and two outs to work with. But …

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CHICAGO -- The chances for the Marlins were there Monday night -- perhaps none greater than in the seventh inning of a 3-1 loss to the Cubs.

After Marcell Ozuna reached on a single to lead off the inning, the Marlins were spared a double play when Cubs shortstop Javier Baez couldn't handle a ground ball hit sharply at him. Ozuna then advanced to third on a wild pitch from Mike Montgomery, giving the Marlins a runner 90 feet from the plate and two outs to work with. But …

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"That's the kind of play that we need to take advantage of," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "You never know what changes the game at that point, because then every pitch you throw has a chance to cost you at least an opportunity to win."

Derek Dietrich struck out and Tyler Moore grounded out to end the threat. On a day when runs were at a premium, the Marlins went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The first chance for the Marlins came in the second inning. Ozuna doubled to lead off the inning and a J.T. Realmuto walk put runners on first and second with nobody out.

The Cubs responded with what manager Joe Maddon would go on to call one of the biggest plays of the game, forcing Dietrich into a double play.

Video: MIA@CHC: Zobrist and Baez convert 4-6-3 double play

"They were on the verge of going bases loaded, no outs, and all of a sudden it's a runner on third and two outs," Maddon said. "That's the turning point. That permitted us to settle in. If you want to look at one at-bat that helped us, it was that at-bat."

In the sixth, the Marlins finally got on the board, as Dee Gordon hit a sacrifice fly to bring in J.T. Riddle. Giancarlo Stanton followed that with a two-out double that might have led to another run, but Christian Yelich grounded out to end the inning.

"It felt like we should've had better at-bats," Mattingly said. "We were going down easy early. Maybe just one of those days."

Video: MIA@CHC: Riddle sends a line-drive double to center

In the eighth, there was one final lesson to be learned.

Riddle reached to lead off the inning on a soft ground ball fielded by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. Riddle could have advanced to second after an Ichiro Suzuki single the next at-bat -- but Montgomery picked off Riddle before then.

Stanton struck out to end the inning with Ichiro at second, and the Marlins did not record another hit.

"That's one of the times we talk about outs are like gold. And you can't give them away," Mattingly said. "Especially late in a game when you don't have many of them left. It's one of those you don't want to lose."

Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Marlins on Monday.

Miami Marlins