David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
For the first four innings, Cubs starting pitcher Edwin Jackson got himself out of jams that he had put himself in. In the first inning, Miami left-fielder Christian Yelich got the team’s first hit on the day with a two out single. He advanced to second base on a successful steal, but Jackson was able to stop the damage by getting Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton out on a swinging strikeout to end the threat. Despite working out of trouble on several occasions, Jackson was unable to stop the Marlins, and Chicago dropped its second straight to lowly Miami, this time by a 6-2 final
In the second frame, Miami shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria hit a two-out double to left-field, his 12th on the season. But Jackson was able to escape the jam on a strikeout, this time against catcher Jeff Mathis.
At this point, the hot-and-cold Jackson had 36 pitches with three strikeouts and only two hits. He had put out all of his fires he had started yet most fans were still on the edge whether they were going to see the good version or the troubled starter who could quickly let a game slip out of reach.
The third inning featured another two-out double, this time by second basemen Donovan Solano. Yelich stepped to the plate and figured to do more damage, already fast-becoming the biggest offensive threat of the series. But he was worked inside and on the outside corner before going down on a slider down and in.
After trading shots in the fourth frame, everything quickly went downhill for the Cubs. Jackson entered the fifth inning with 70 pitches and would exit with another 34 after Miami pounced on him. The first pitch opposing pitcher Tom Koehler saw, a four-seam fastball high in the zone down the middle of the plate, he turned on for a single.
Leadoff man Chris Coghlan went quickly with a fly out to right field. Solano took Jackson to nine pitches in his at-bat before ripping a single to center field. Yelich came up and had a similarly long at-bat, stretching the Cubs’ right-hander six pitches before a double to left field which scored Koehler and advanced Solano to third.
Stanton, who figured to be a major offensive threat this series as he came in with a career .400 batting average mark against the Cubbies, finally got his first hit of the three-game set with single to left-field that scored Solano and moved Yelich over to third.
Center-fielder Justin Ruggiano hit a ball at shortstop Starlin Castro, who caused an error in trying to get the force out at second base. Yelich was able to score to make it 3-0 Marlins. Jackson would settle down enough to get out of the inning without any more damage coming, but it would be his last work on the night.
Chicago came roaring back immediately with right-fielder Brian Bogusevic hitting a home run to left-center to cut the deficit to 3-1 Miami. Catcher Wellington Castillo was able to take a walk on four straight balls with pinch-hitter Junior Lake coming in to bat for Jackson, now 7-15 on the year.
Lake worked it to a 3-2 count before getting hit by a pitch, putting two men on with zero outs. But Castro wasn’t able to make up for his fielding error, watching a called third strike on a two-seam fastball that was low and in. Third basemen Luis Valbuena pushed Koehler to a full 3-2 count before taking his free base on the Marlins’ third free base on the inning.
With first basemen Anthony Rizzo stepping up to the plate with the bases loaded and only one out, the Marlins brought in Dan Jennings to cool the Cubs down. Rizzo hit a sacrifice fly to score Castillo from third, but that would be the last time Chicago would come close to being back in the game.
The teams traded scoring threats and bullpen arms as neither team scored during the sixth or seventh innings. During the sixth inning, left-handed relief pitcher Zach Rosscup came into the game just hours after joining the big league club in a September call-up. He went 2/3 of an inning, throwing 16 pitches resulting in a walk and a strikeout.
Former Cub outfielder Juan Pierre was on first base as the lefty came in. While Rosscup was on the mound, Pierre stole second and third base. After he issued a walk to Solano, he also was able to steal second base. But he was able to get Yelich to pop out to end the inning.
Blake Parker came in to pitch the eighth inning and gave up the final three runs Miami would score. Mathis hit a one-out single followed by pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs striking out. Coghlan came up and hit a two-seam fastball high and away for a single which Solano followed up with a double, scoring Mathis. Yelich hit a single to left-field, scoring Coghlan and the final run of the ballgame.
Similar to Monday’s series opening loss, the Cubs were able to respond back to the first shot Miami gave them. But they weren’t able to muster another shot back and they allowed Yelich to beat up on them for the second straight game, who is now 6-of-10 with two runs and two RBI’s on the series.
The Cubs look to avoid the sweep tomorrow at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. First-pitch is set for 1:20 pm with Jeff Samardzija taking the mound.