Cubs blank Marlins to close out series


by - Senior Writer -
Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO — A far cry from the two blowout losses they experienced in the first two games of the series, the Chicago Cubs (40-32) blanked the Miami Marlins (31-40) in Sunday's finale of the three-game set at Wrigley Field. A passed ball and a 15-pitch at-bat led to the Cubs scoring the only two runs of the contest, with the North Siders recording a 2-0 shutout of the Fish. The Marlins actually outhit the Cubs 6-4 but placed a runner in scoring position only once.

Alec Mills tossed five scoreless innings in a spot start, and he was aided by Javy Baez's expert defense early in the action. Baez pulled off two brilliant defensive feats in the top of the second. The first was a spinning throw to first he made after fielding a grounder on a shift, and the second was a spectacular displays of athleticism, with Baez going airborne to glove a chopper hit into the 5-6 hole and then quickly throwing to second for an inning-ending force out.

Zach Thompson started on the bump for the Marlins, and he hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch to lead off the bottom of the second. Rizzo was later caught in a rundown during an ill-fated steal attempt and tagged out to usher in the third frame. Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas committed a critical fielding error with two outs in the third, as he booted a chopper hit up the middle by Joc Pederson. Jason Heyward motored from first to third on the play and then scored on the aforementioned passed ball suffered by Jorge Alfaro.

In the fourth, Rizzo experienced another inning-ending gaffe on the basepaths, with Alfaro picking him off at second. Ross Detwiler relieved Thompson to begin the bottom of the fifth and immediately had his work cut out for him, as Patrick Wisdom fouled off 10 pitches prior to finally putting the ball in play on the 15th pitch of the plate appearance. Rojas failed to cleanly field the ball, which took a weird hop on the dirt, but was not charged with an error. Instead, Wisdom was credited with a single.

Not long after Wisdom's leadoff base knock, Jake Marisnick hit a single that advanced Wisdom to second. Pederson then poked the ball through the infield for an RBI base hit, which plated Wisdom. Ryan Tepera went six up, six down in the sixth and seventh innings, and Andrew Chafin followed with 1-2-3 eighth. Baez flied out to the warning track in the bottom of the eighth, nearly providing the Cubs with an insurance run that they did not need, as Craig Kimbrel retired the ninth-inning side in order to secure the 2-0 victory.

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