Bote played well in the win against the Marlins (Jasen Vinlove - USA Today Sports)
Bote played well in the win against the Marlins (Jasen Vinlove - USA Today Sports)

Bote clutch late as Cubs sink the Marlins


by - Senior Writer -

MIAMI - Sometimes, in baseball, it isn't about how often you score runs as it is when you score those runs. With the Chicago Cubs (63-85) trailing the Miami Marlins (61-88) 1-0 in the seventh at Loan Depot Park, it was David Bote coming through not once, but twice.

After tying the game with a long homer to left field in the seventh, Bote had another opportunity in the eighth as he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded.

Granted, this wasn't one of those epic grand slam moments, but it did get the job done as his sacrifice fly proved to be the game-winner.

It was a win the Cubs desperately needed and one not many people thought they would get when you looked at the lineup that David Ross has been forced to use and facing a guy like Pablo Lopez. Lopez was not the problem in this one, as he has been as steady as they come for the Marlins this season. Lopez pitched into the seventh before being pulled, but finished the day with one run on five hits allowed and added six strikeouts.

Things were a little different for Adrian Sampson, who continues to pitch well in September. Not only did he come into his start with a 2.79 ERA on the road, but both of his runs have come away from Wrigley Field while posting an ERA better than a run lower than at home. To make things even better, Sampson has been on quite a roll in September as the right-hander has now tossed 23 innings this month and has posted a sub 1.60 ERA.

Although he was hit hard, allowing eight hits in six innings, Sampson made the pitches he needed to make as he surrendered just one run with three strikeouts to pick up a no-decision. He gave way to Adbert Alzolay, who earned the win with a pair of scoreless innings, while Brandon Hughes collected his sixth save of the season.

Hits were not going to be easy to come by against Lopez, but Esteban Quiroz picked up one immediately in the first inning as his single was the first hit of his MLB career.

After that, it was all Lopez as he started a nice stretch of hitters that he retired in order while keeping his pitch count down.

On the other hand, Sampson was playing with fire across his first two innings as he not only threw 50 pitches but had to work in and out of constant jams. After working around a pair of first-inning singles, Sampson had his back against the wall again in the second as JJ Bleday led off the inning with a walk before Bryan De La Cruz picked up a single. Standing on third with two down, Jordan Groshans put the Marlins on top as his infield single made things 1-0. Fortunately, that would be all the offense they would get, despite putting plenty of traffic on the bases.

It wasn't until the fifth inning when Sampson started to settle in as he managed to pitch six strong innings for another quality outing. Sampson was also at his best late as he retired the last seven hitters he faced and nine of the last 10 in total.

Still trailing by the 1-0 score, Bote took matters into his own hands in the seventh as he crushed a Lopez off-speed pitch out to left center and brought things back to even 1-1. Singles from PJ Higgins and Jared Young later in the inning had the Cubs on the verge of striking again, but their inability to hit with runners on base proved costly.

Looking to strike gold in the eighth off of the new Marlins Pitcher Steven Okert, it was Michael Hermosillo starting things off the right way and leading things off with a hit by pitch. That was followed by not one, but two perfect bunts for the Cubs as Zach McKinstry and Quiroz reached base and loaded the bases with no outs.

A few pitches later saw Bote drive in the eventual winning run as his sacrifice fly made things 2-1, but had the Cubs still threatening. That was until Ian Happ, and Alfonso Rivas struck out to end the inning, but the Cubs were still in front. With three outs standing in their way of a victory, Ross elected to go with Hughes out of the pen as he was looking for another save.

Things didn't start off too hot for Hughes as he allowed a leadoff double to Garrett Cooper and had the Marlins threatening again. Three batters later and it was game over as Nelson Velazquez secured the final out in right field to give the Cubs a 2-1 win. With the win, the Cubs are guaranteed to lose less than 100 games which is better than what many thought it would be this season.

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