A three-run blast off the bat of Garrett Jones in the bottom of the seventh that hopped off the top of the wall before reaching the bullpen proved to be the difference in a closely-contested ballgame in South Beach on Tuesday night as the Miami Marlins topped the visiting Cubs, 6-5.
Jones took a 1-0 pitch from Chicago reliever Brian Schlitter (2-2, 3.03 ERA) and drove it into the pen beyond the right field wall, turning a 4-3 Cubs’ lead into a 6-4 Miami advantage. The home run was Jones’ ninth of the year – and marked his only base hit of the evening.
Chicago (29-40) failed to win back-to-back games against the Marlins, despite another outstanding outing by right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who allowed three runs – two of which were earned – in six innings of work. He also struck out eight, but walked three, throwing 110 pitches on the night. Schlitter entered to start the bottom of the seventh, and promptly surrendered the game-winning home run.
A ground ball off the bat of Casey McGehee plated Rafael Furcal to open the scoring in the first, but the 1-0 Marlins’ lead was quickly erased in the top of the second when Junior Lake hit a rocket into the left field seats for his ninth home run of the season against Miami starter Anthony DeSclafani, who tossed 6 1/3 innings, allowing four earned on six hits.
A sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Samardzija added to the Cubs’ lead in the second, making it a 3-1 ballgame, but a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth by Furcal tied things up. Miami (36-34) kept things even until Luis Valbuena continued his impressive season with his 19th double of the year that plated Chris Coghlan and gave the Cubs a one-run lead. The Cubs’ third baseman was the only member of the team to tally multiple hits in the ballgame.