CHICAGO – The Cubs evened out the series with a rain-shortened 5-1 victory over the Marlins on Wednesday, their first victory in five tries over Miami this season.
How it happened: The Cubs’ offense chased Marlins starter Josh Johnson in the seventh inning and took control of the game with four runs. Geovany Soto had a go-ahead RBI single and pinch hitter Jeff Baker delivered a two-run triple. Jeff Samardzija wasn’t very efficient but managed to hold the Marlins to one run over five innings. The bullpen held the Marlins off until the rains came. The game was called in the top of the eighth.
What it means: The Cubs continue to flaunt a new-look clutch offense. There might not have been any two-out RBIs in a four-run seventh inning, but just as impressive was the way the Cubs seized an opportunity in the late innings of a game tied 1-1. An infield single from Alfonso Soriano started it all off. Soto and Baker were clutch, as was David DeJesus, who piled on with a sacrifice fly for the fourth run in the inning. While Anthony Rizzo has gotten much of the credit for the Cubs’ offensive revival, this rally was Rizzo free.
Outside the box: Make that 77 errorless games and counting for second baseman Darwin Barney. Not making errors is one thing, but Barney is also making spectacular plays on defense to go along with his streak. One came Wednesday in the third inning when the Marlins’ Emilio Bonifacio tried to steal second base. Barney picked off a throw from catcher Geovany Soto on the short hop and made a quick tag while falling down for the improbable out.
Off beat: Not even a leadoff triple in the fifth inning or a botched rundown between third base and home plate could rattle Samardzija. After Bonifacio tripled, Samardzija got Carlos Lee on a ground ball to short. He looked to be out of the jam when Bonifacio was caught in the rundown after another grounder, but catcher Soto dropped the ball in the rundown for an error. After first looking dejected, Samardzija came back to strike out Hanley Ramirez looking and getting Greg Dobbs to ground out to first base.
Up next: The Cubs will send left-hander Paul Maholm (7-6, 4.33 ERA) to the mound Thursday in the series finale. The Marlins will counter with left-hander Mark Buehrle (8-8, 3.25) in the 1:20 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.