CHICAGO -- Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto homered, as the Marlins held on to beat the Cubs, 6-5, on Wednesday night, staving off a sweep and snapping Chicago's five-game winning streak.Like on Tuesday, the Marlins got on the board quickly -- but the key difference was the offense had more
CHICAGO -- Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto homered, as the Marlins held on to beat the Cubs, 6-5, on Wednesday night, staving off a sweep and snapping Chicago's five-game winning streak.
Like on Tuesday, the Marlins got on the board quickly -- but the key difference was the offense had more in store. Realmuto and Ozuna hit solo homers in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, while J.T. Riddle drove in a pair of runs.
"I'm just happy we won. However it comes, I'm just happy to have wins," said Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, who scored the decisive run on a wild-pitch fielder's choice on a strikeout in the seventh. "Honestly, we needed it."
Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run double, Kyle Schwarber had his first three-hit game of the season, including a solo homer, and Ian Happ added a solo shot for the Cubs, who pulled within a run in the eighth, but Marlins closer A.J. Ramos got the final four outs for his ninth save.
"It was a good day at the plate," Schwarber said. "I'm just trying to hit the ball. It worked out good. I want to keep it going. It's a tough loss today but we still battled."
Marlins starter Jose Urena pitched five innings and allowed three runs to a Cubs offense that had started to hit its stride. He was outlasted by Cubs starter John Lackey, who pitched six innings, but the right-hander struggled to suppress Miami's bats. The Marlins got to Lackey for five runs on seven hits, marking the third time in his last four starts he's surrendered five runs.
"[Lackey is] not afraid to challenge hitters, and sometimes it works for him and sometimes it works against him," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Ozuna got him there, and with Realmuto, it was a changeup up and that hurt him a little, too."
The Marlins improved to 25-33, finishing the series a half-game back of the Braves for third in the National League East. The Cubs are 30-28, a game behind the Brewers, who are first in the NL Central at 32-28.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Four for four: After giving up an early 1-0 lead in the third, the Marlins wasted little time responding. Realmuto smashed a solo shot with one out in the fourth, marking the first of four consecutive Marlins hits. By the end of that stretch, they led, 4-2, and surpassed their offensive output from the first two games of the series combined.
The hit that bothered Lackey the most was Riddle's two-run single.
"The at-bat to the shortstop where I gave up the hit with two runners on and the pitcher coming up -- I wasn't trying to throw a strike there," Lackey said. "I hung that pitch a little bit, and he got a hit. That's definitely the difference in the game right there."
By the skin of their teeth: The Marlins' bullpen flirted with danger all night, starting in the sixth when the Cubs had two on with one out, but couldn't score off Brad Ziegler. Schwarber led off the seventh with a solo home run off David Phelps, and drove in another run with a two-out double in the eighth. Marlins manager Don Mattingly turned to closer A.J. Ramos to get the team out of the eighth, and record a four-out save.
"A.J. did a nice job with the four-out save there," Mattingly said. "Kind of kicking myself for not bringing him in at Schwarber [one batter earlier], honestly."
"I was pumped to come in in that situation. The fans were cheering. They're gaining momentum. The game is starting to speed up a little bit. And those are situations I like to be in, especially when I'm feeling good. When I was going out there I was like, 'This is awesome.' I don't know if you saw me, I kind of stepped off and just [felt] the energy of the crowd because I just, I like that feeling. Even though it's negative energy toward me, I still feed off of that." -- Ramos, on getting four-out save at Wrigley Field.
HAPP BACK TO REALITY
After two days out of the Cubs' lineup, Happ returned, and did the same thing that earned him a curtain call in his last starts -- or half of it, at least. The utility man hit a solo shot off Urena with two outs in the fifth, marking his third straight hit that was a home run. The shot traveled an estimated 388 feet, and left the bat with an exit velocity of 103.2 mph, according to Statcast™.
Marlins: The Marlins head to Pittsburgh to begin a four-game set against the Pirates at 7:05 p.m. ET on Thursday. Right-hander Edinson Volquez (2-7, 3.79 ERA) will get the ball for the series opener, fresh off his last outing when he pitched the sixth no-hitter in Marlins history. There were some questions about Volquez's ankle coming into this start, but he seemed to quell those concerns after working through a bullpen session Tuesday.
Cubs:Jonathan Lester will open a four-game series against the Rockies on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field. Lester is 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA in six home starts. In his last start against the Cardinals, he gave up three runs over six innings, but did not get a decision.
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Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Marlins on Wednesday.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.