Marlins bounce back with shutout vs. defending champs
MIAMI (AP) — The Marlins aren’t hitting, and they’re still winning.
Giancarlo Stanton hit a 458-foot drive for his 19th home run, Jose Urena scattered five hits over six innings and Miami topped the Chicago Cubs 2-0 on Friday night.
The Marlins managed only three hits in the win, which came two days after getting just two hits in a 2-1 victory over Washington. Before this week, the Marlins were 0-21 this season when scoring two runs or fewer.
“It’s good to know that sometimes our pitching can carry us,” Stanton said.
Christian Yelich added a sacrifice fly for the Marlins. Stanton had two hits and Dee Gordon the other for Miami, while everyone else in the Marlins’ lineup was a combined 0 for 19.
“That was a different game, huh? Stupid baseball,” a pleased Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Just a well-pitched game both ways.”
Urena (6-2) won his fifth straight decision. A.J. Ramos pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 12 chances.
Javier Baez and Ian Happ each had two hits for the Cubs. John Lackey (5-8) gave up just three hits and two runs — one earned — in six innings, yet still fell to 1-5 in his last seven starts.
It was Miami’s fifth shutout win of the season, and the Cubs’ sixth time being blanked.
“Johnny Lackey was really good,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I was impressed with him tonight. His stuff was really sharp. He was outstanding. I didn’t want to take him out of the game. The fastball had really good carry. He was throwing it where he wanted to. His slider was good.”
Stanton’s third-inning homer over the side of the Red Grooms sculpture in center opened the scoring, and Gordon scored Miami’s second run in the sixth. He stole second, went to third on a throwing error by catcher Miguel Montero and scored easily on Yelich’s fly.
That was more than enough for Urena.
His only real brush with trouble came in the fifth when he froze Addison Russell with a breaking ball near the top of the zone for an inning-ending strikeout that stranded two Cubs. Urena celebrated by giving his glove a congratulatory slap as he headed to Miami’s dugout.
“The guy today went up to 100 mph with sink,” Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said. “You kind of have to know to hit certain pitches.”
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendicks (right hand), who hasn’t pitched since June 4, is believed to be nearing a return — though the Cubs have not set a definitive target date.
Marlins: 3B Martin Prado (right hamstring) returned to the lineup after missing nearly seven weeks. To make room, the Marlins designated INF Christian Colon for assignment. Prado made a nifty play in the seventh, barehanding a bunt attempt by former University of Miami standout Jon Jay and getting the ball to first in plenty of time for the out. Prado also started a game-ending 5-4-3 double play.
The home run to Stanton was the 21st allowed by Lackey this season, two shy of his 2016 total. Eighteen have been solo. He matched a career-worst by allowing at least one home run in eight consecutive starts, something he also did while with the Angels in 2008.
The Cubs, never shy about mixing up lineups, had one .300 hitter in the order on Friday — and batted him last. Jay came into the day hitting .323 and was slotted No. 9, one spot behind Lackey. Anthony Rizzo remained in the leadoff spot for the 10th consecutive game.
Urena hasn’t logged more than six innings in any start this season. He went out to start the seventh, but was relieved by RHP Kyle Barraclogh before the inning began when the Cubs sent pinch-hitter Mark Zagunis to the plate — marking the second big league game for Zagunis.
Miami LHP Justin Nicolino (0-1, 5.06) faces the Cubs for the first time in his career, when he goes up against LHP Jon Lester (4-4, 3.83) on Saturday afternoon.