Mark Buehrle said the Miami Marlins’ new home is a pitcher’s park. Their bats said otherwise.
The Marlins totaled 14 hits, including homers by Hanley Ramirez and Donnie Murphy, and Buehrle earned his first victory with Miami by pitching eight innings Wednesday to beat the slumping Chicago Cubs 9-1.
Buehrle (1-2), one of the Marlins’ offseason All-Star acquisitions, allowed one run and six hits while pitching for the first time at Marlins Park.
”I like it,” he said. ”You can fall behind in the count and say, `Hey, just throw a strike here and see how far this guy can hit it,’ because the ball doesn’t carry too well.”
It has carried lately, however, for the home team. Ramirez homered for the third game in a row when he hit a two-run shot to put the Marlins up 4-0 in the fifth inning. He started the season slowly, but in the past four games has gone 9 for 16 with nine RBIs to hike his average from .133 to .283.
With the retractable roof open for the second night in a row, Donnie Murphy put Miami ahead with a two-run homer in the third off Matt Garza (1-1). The hit came in only his fourth at-bat this season.
The Marlins didn’t homer until their 31st inning in the new ballpark. They now have five home runs at home and six on the road.
”The way we’re swinging the bat right now, I’m very excited,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. ”If we swing the bat the way we can, the ball goes out of the ballpark.”
The Marlins improved to 2-0 since Guillen returned from a five-game suspension. They’re 6-6 overall, while Chicago is off to a 3-9 start, with four consecutive losses.
Garza, who pitched 8 2-3 shutout innings in his last outing, lasted only five-plus frames this time. He allowed seven hits and six runs.
Emblematic of the Cubs’ performance was a lackadaisical effort by left fielder Alfonso Soriano on a routine single by Murphy, who kept running when Soriano lobbed the ball in, turning the hit into a double without even drawing a throw.
”We have to get the ball and the ball into second base,” manager Dale Sveum said. ”Sori knows that, and he knows he made a mistake and took something for granted there.”
The Cubs went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. They hit into two double plays and have grounded into six in the series.
”I’m not going to say I’m not concerned,” Sveum said. ”It’s tough to score runs when you don’t have slugging percentage and don’t get people on base.”
One bright spot for Chicago: Marlon Byrd had a single and hiked his average this season to .081 (3 for 37).
Jeff Baker doubled and scored the only run off Buehrle.
”He had his A Game,” Baker said. ”He threw all his pitches for strikes, different speeds – even his fastball. He got a lead and kept attacking.”
The Marlins had at least one hit in all but one inning, and even Buehrle contributed. He had an RBI single in the sixth, only the sixth career hit for the longtime American Leaguer.
”I love hitting, but I hate it because I’m terrible,” Buehrle said. ”I’m here to pitch and get outs.”
He did that, working quickly as always. The game lasted 2 hours, 38 minutes.
”Buehrle’s going to get beat quick, or he’s going to get people out quick,” Guillen said.
Gaby Sanchez had three hits, including an RBI double in Miami’s three-run seventh. Murphy hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth for his third RBI of the night.
Notes: Murphy played in place of 2B Omar Infante, who was held out of the starting lineup because of a sore groin that has bothered him for several days. He’s also expected to sit out Thursday. … The Cubs have scored a total of seven runs in their past four games. … Ramirez committed his first error since moving to 3B. … The last time Ramirez homered in three consecutive games was in early May 2010. … Buehrle improved to 6-4 in 14 starts against the Cubs. … Attendance was 25,723.