Marlins take care of Cubs, avoid sweep in Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) -- The Miami Marlins looked like they were on their way to a rather easy win after J.T. Realmuto and Marcell Ozuna homered.
Some aggressive base-running by Dee Gordon helped preserve the victory.
Ozuna hit his 15th homer, Realmuto went deep and the Miami Marlins hung on to beat the Chicago Cubs 6-5 and avoid a three-game sweep on Wednesday night.
"I think it's important for us to win these one-run ballgames," said A.J. Ramos, who worked the final 1 1/3 innings. "It sets the tone, it shows that we can win these close ballgames, because we've been losing a lot of these and it's good to get one win out here at least after losing those two so hopefully get some momentum rolling to Pittsburgh."
Solo homers by Realmuto in a three-run fourth and Ozuna in the fifth against John Lackey (4-6) helped stake Miami to a 5-2 lead.
Gordon tripled and scored in the first. He also singled and raced home from second with the decisive run in the seventh when Giancarlo Stanton struck out on a pitch in the dirt. The ball ricocheted to the left of the plate, leaving it uncovered as catcher Miguel Montero threw to first.
Gordon's aggressive play on the bases made it 6-3, and the Marlins won for the eighth time in 11 games. They also stopped the Cubs' season-high win streak at five.
Kyle Schwarber homered and had two doubles for Chicago. Ian Happ also went deep. Anthony Rizzo added two hits and two RBIs. But the Cubs came up short trying to sweep the Marlins after taking all three from NL Central rival St. Louis.
They were trailing 6-4 in the eighth when Jon Jay singled with two outs and scored on Schwarber's double to right-center against Nick Wittgren. Ramos then struck out Happ to end the inning and worked the ninth for his ninth save in as many chances.
He walked Rizzo with one out, putting the tying run on base. Ramos then deflected Ben Zobrist's comebacker with his foot, picked up the ball and threw to second for the force. Heyward followed with a fly to center to end the game.
Jose Urena (4-2) improved to 3-0 in his past four starts despite a 7.45 ERA in that stretch. He lasted five innings, allowing three runs and three hits while walking three.
Lackey gave up five runs and seven hits in six innings and was once again hurt by the long ball. The 38-year-old right-hander has allowed 16 home runs.
But what bothered Lackey more was JT Riddle's two-run single on a hanging slider in the fourth.
"If I managed the game a little bit better, (the home runs) shouldn't have killed us," Lackey said. "The hit to the shortstop (Riddle) is probably the one that got me the most for sure."
Marlins: RHP Tom Koehler (right shoulder bursitis) is scheduled to pitch in a rehab assignment Thursday with High-A Jupiter. . Marlins manager Don Mattingly said the club is working on a plan for the return of LHP Justin Nicolino (blister on left index finger), who is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday. The Marlins want to make sure starters Dan Straily, Urena and Edinson Volquez are working on the right amount of rest. "They don't mind pitching on six, they don't like pitching on seven," Mattingly said. "So we'll try to work it where those guys stay in their rhythm and we'll work Nico in."
Marlins: Miami sends RHP Edinson Volquez (2-7, 3.79 ERA), coming off the sixth no-hitter in franchise history, to the mound as they open a four-game series at Pittsburgh against RHP Gerrit Cole (3-5, 4.27). Volquez tossed a gem against Arizona last Saturday, staying in after he hurt his right ankle in the first inning.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (3-3, 3.91) looks to remain unbeaten at home as the Cubs begin a four-game set against NL West-leading Colorado. Lester is 3-0 in six starts at Wrigley Field this season. RHP Tyler Chatwood (5-7, 4.60) pitches for Colorado.