CHICAGO (AP) — The Miami bullpen is usually sturdy. On Wednesday it cost the Marlins their first four-game winning streak of the season.
Former Marlin Donnie Murphy hit a two-run home run to cap a four-run rally in the seventh inning and the Cubs connected four times to beat Miami 9-7 and avoid a three-game sweep. Miami’s bullpen gave up two homers and allowed six runs in four innings.
Before Wednesday, Miami’s bullpen had a 3.60 ERA and was coming off a performance Tuesday when it threw 4 2-3 scoreless innings.
“They’ve been pretty consistent for us all year but today wasn’t one of our better days,” manager Mike Redmond said.
The Marlins led 7-4 when reliever A.J. Ramos entered in the seventh and walked the first two batters he faced, Darwin Barney and Anthony Rizzo.
After a passed ball advanced the runners, Dioner Navarro hit a dribbler off the end of the bat down the left-field line for a single that scored both runners and made it 7-6.
Ryan Webb (2-6) came on and didn’t fare any better as Murphy hit the first pitch into the bleachers in left.
“He did exactly what I wanted him to … swing at a two-seamer and he just got underneath it,” Webb said.
Miami’s Adeiny Hechavarria hit a grand slam and Logan Morrison had a two-run homer, which was his first since July 6 at St. Louis.
Starlin Castro and Navarro homered in the third off Brian Flynn, who allowed three runs in four-plus innings in his major league debut.
“It was one of those things, you dream about this day for a while and you’d like to have your best stuff but you’ve got to fight through it,” Flynn said. “Behind in the count, up in the zone, good hitters are going to do that to you.”
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija took a 3-2 lead into the sixth when he suddenly lost command.
Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Ruggiano singled with one out and Morrison walked to load the bases.
Hechavarria, the light-hitting shortstop, hit a 1-0 fastball right down the middle into the bleachers in left-center for a 6-3 lead.
Ryan Sweeney homered in the sixth and the Cubs gave away a run in the seventh when Donovan Solano tripled and scored on a throwing error by Navarro when the catcher threw a pickoff attempt.
Miami’s bullpen, however, couldn’t hold the lead, with Murphy hitting his ninth homer of the season. This one came against the team he played for from 2010-12.
“I had the luxury of playing with those guys,” Murphy said. “I know that guy’s a sinkerball guy. I was looking for a sinker, he gave it to me and I put a pretty good swing on it.”
The Cubs added an insurance run in the eighth on Castro’s double.
Carlos Villanueva (4-8) got the win. Kevin Gregg, despite walking the potential tying runs on base, worked out of a jam for his 29th save in 34 chances.
Redmond, meanwhile, didn’t think his bullpen’s workload on Tuesday had an impact.
“These guys are young. We’ve taken pretty good care of these guys over the course of the year,” Redmond said. “Knowing that we have a day off tomorrow I don’t think any of those guys have been stretched out too much.”
NOTES: During the sixth inning, Stanton let go of his bat on a swing and it flew into the crowd, hitting a young boy sitting a few feet above and to the right of the Cubs’ third-base dugout. The boy was rushed out of the seats but he and his family returned later in the game, much to the relief of Stanton. “Thank goodness he’s all right,” Stanton said. … Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez was named NL Rookie of the Month for the second straight month after going 3-1 with a 1.15 ERA in August. “That speaks for what he’s been able to do,” Redmond said. … Rob Brantly, the Marlins’ opening-day catcher before being sent to the minors, is back with the expanded roster and eager for a second chance. “The biggest problem I had at the beginning of the season was I was trying to do too much,” he said. … Before the game, the Cubs claimed RHP Daniel Bard off waivers from Boston and selected the contract of RHP Chang-Yong Lim from Triple-A Iowa. … The Marlins are off Thursday and open a home series Friday against the Nationals with Fernandez (10-6) facing a pitcher to be announced by Washington.