At least for one evening, the 5-16 Marlins provided some more compatible competition for the 6-14 Chicago Cubs. The visitors looked like they would get a roll right off the bat, thanks to a deep lead off double by David DeJesus. With the first team at bat with RISP, Starlin Castro cashed in DeJesus with a single up the middle to make it 1-0 Cubs. Unfortunately with runners on first and second with one out, the Cubs offense went 0 for 2 to end the inning.
Apr 25, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena (24) reacts after hitting a game winning home run against the Miami Marlins in the night inning at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Marlins quickly answered with a run in their half of the first and then former Cub Juan Pierre put the home team up 2-1 with a RBI single off starter Edwin Jackson in the second inning. The Marlins would give their pitcher Kevin Slowey a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs offense cut into the lead in the fourth on back to back doubles by Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo, the pair that failed to add more runs for the Cubs in the top of the first. For those of you scoring at home, that made the offense 2 for 4 with RISP up to this point. The Cubs did not score again until the top of the sixth, when Schierholtz drove a ball off the right field foul pole to the knot the game up at three apiece.
Mean while, Jackson should be given credit for holding down the Marlins after giving up the three early runs. He would survive through six innings of work despite allowing five hits and four walks. His bullpen mates would come in to back him up, starting with perfect frames by Hector Rondon and Shawn Camp. Luis Valbuena provided the imaginary fireworks for the visitor’s fans in the top of the ninth inning, launching a go ahead solo homer into the Marlins bullpen in right field to put the Cubs up 4-3. Carlos Marmol then came in to provide the nail biting drama for Cubs fans in the ninth. He would issue a lead off walk and a single before the Marlins gave him an out on a Juan Pierre bunt attempt. With the tying and winning runs on third and second base respectively, the enigmatic Marmol would proceed to get Placido Polanco out before striking out Giancarlo Stanton to end the game.
While the final score may not indicate that the Cubs are any better than their fellow last place Marlins, the offense as a unit going 2 for 6 (.333) with RISP is a step in the right direction. Combined with some timely home runs, which the Cubs have been getting all week, the offense was able to produce just enough runs for their pitching staff to pull out the win. The hope is that the Cubs will build on this effort and win with a great margin on Friday night, but then you remember that Scott Feldman is taking the mound.