High strikeout total proves costly for Marlins against Cubs
JUN 06, 2014 9:48p ET
CHICAGO -- Twenty-four hours ago, the Miami Marlins won their fourth game in a row by pounding out 17 hits and 11 runs, the third-highest total of the season.
It didn't matter that for the fourth consecutive contest their strikeouts surpassed double-digits.
After erasing a three-run deficit in the ninth, the Marlins fell 5-3 to the Chicago Cubs on Anthony Rizzo's two-run walk-off home run in the 13th inning Friday at Wrigley Field.
Entering the series opener, the first-place Marlins (32-29) ranked fourth in the majors with 513 strikeouts. They matched a season high by striking out 17 times Friday, done two other times through 61 games.
During their four-game win streak against the Rays, they averaged 11.3 strikeouts per game. Until that stretch, they had limited the total to single digits dating back to May 20. The club dropped to 10-12 when striking out in double digits.
Every starter except Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones struck out at least once. Giancarlo Stanton, who went hitless in six at-bats, struck out four times. So did Marcell Ozuna. Miami worked just one walk.
"We can punch out with the best of them, that's for sure," manager Mike Redmond said. "We went down a lot in Tampa, too, and ended up winning four of those games. We're going to strike out, but we also have the ability to do some damage."
Even with the high strikeout numbers, they have produced the seventh-most runs in the majors a year after setting records for offensive futility. On Friday, they outhit the Cubs (24-34) 12-10. They are now 24-5 when outhitting an opponent.
Although Miami put a runner on in the first five innings against righty Jason Hammel, the club lacked the timely hit. Second in the big leagues with a .285 clip with runners in scoring position, the offense instead went 3-for-11 on Friday.
The lone hit until the ninth came on Ozuna's sharp single to left with a man at second and one out. Jones couldn't score on the play, and he would be stranded after a strikeout, intentional walk and Nathan Eovaldi's strikeout.
Miami avoided its third shutout of the year with three runs in the ninth off closer Hector Rondon.
McGehee and Jones reached on bloopers. After Ozuna struck out, Adeiny Hechavarria singled to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Justin Bour grounded out to first, driving in McGehee. Pinch-hitter Reed Johnson followed, delivering a two-run single to tie the game.
In the 11th, Ozuna led off with a single, moved to second on Hechavarria's sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on J.T. Realmuto groundout to second. But pinch-hitter Jeff Baker grounded out to end the threat.
"We really didn't get anything going offensively other than the ninth inning mounting a rally," Redmond said. "It was good to see, nice at-bats and gave ourselves a chance to play some extras but extras we didn't get anything going either."
"That was our only opportunity. They found a way to get a couple hits late and that was the difference."
Kevin Slowey, who stranded the winning runner at second in the 12th, surrendered Rizzo's homer to right on a first-pitch curveball.
"We've had a lot of games like this, tough series," Slowey said. "We played obviously very well at home, Tampa in see-saw games. That's just one of those games look back and say boys got the job done coming back in the ninth and we'll be ready to come back tomorrow."