Aug 3, 2016 8:36 PM
Cubs rally for 3 in 9th to complete sweep of Marlins, 5-4
The Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — The winning rally lacked a signature hit, and that was just fine with the Chicago Cubs. To them, Wednesday's comeback was a testament to the team's collective resolve.
Matt Szczur scored on A.J. Ramos' wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning, capping a three-run rally that gave the Cubs a 5-4 victory and a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins.
Chicago tied it when Ramos (1-1) walked Ben Zobrist with the bases loaded and two outs.
"I think we've got a good group," Cubs starter John Lackey said. "A group that keeps fighting."
Chicago manager Joe Maddon also credited those among the Wrigley Field crowd of 41,147 who stayed until the end.
"They had so much energy," Maddon said. "It was a long day and it was hot out there and we have to get on the road. All those different mental factors, and our fans picked us up."
It was Ramos' second blown save in 33 chances this season.
Miguel Montero started the rally with a leadoff double and went to third on a single by Javier Baez. Szczur was pinch-hitting when he drew a walk from Ramos that loaded the bases. Dexter Fowler made it 3-2 with a sacrifice fly, and all the runners advanced.
Kris Bryant struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch for the second out, and Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked to load the bases again. The strategy backfired when Ramos, who threw just 13 strikes in 35 pitches, walked Zobrist and then unloaded a game-ending wild pitch with Willson Contreras at the plate.
"My job was to get Zobrist out there and I just didn't execute," Ramos said. "I was trying to go for the strikeout or get some weak contact. But I couldn't get it in the zone where I wanted to.
"It was just one of those days, I guess."
Zobrist's teammates credited him for resisting the temptation to go out of the zone for a walk-off hit.
"With Zobrist, he's not going to swing (just) to swing," Montero said. "(Ramos) was nibbling."
Chicago cut it to 4-2 in the eighth when Fowler scored on Fernando Rodney's wild pitch.
Jeff Mathis hit a two-run homer for Miami. Christian Yelich also connected and drove in two runs. Tom Koehler tossed six strong innings to help the Marlins take a 4-1 lead heading to the bottom of the eighth.
Mathis' drive snapped a 1-all tie in the seventh and was just the second of the season for the backup catcher.
Justin Grimm (1-0) pitched the ninth inning for the win. Chicago has won seven of eight after slumping early last month.
Koehler gave up five hits and one run while striking out seven.
Lackey allowed seven hits and three runs in seven innings while striking out eight.
With the Cubs surging again, Lackey was asked what fair expectations are for this season. "Fair expectations? We're trying to win the World Series," he said. "I didn't come here for a haircut. I came here for jewelry."
Yelich, who was 3 for 4, has hit safely in all 12 career games he has played at Wrigley Field. He is 21 for 51 in those games for a .412 batting average.
Ichiro Suzuki lined out softly to shortstop as a pinch-hitter in the seventh against Lackey. Suzuki remained at 2,998 career hits, two shy of becoming the 30th player to reach 3,000.
Marlins: 1B Justin Bour, out since July 3 with a right ankle sprain, is expected to return Friday at Colorado.
Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel was placed on the bereavement list and Grimm was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Hammel is expected to make his next scheduled start on Tuesday.
Marlins: Following a day off, RHP David Phelps (5-5, 2.65 ERA) makes his first start of the season Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Colorado. LHP Jorge De La Rosa (7-7, 5.51) goes for the Rockies.
Cubs: They are off Thursday before opening a three-game series at Oakland on Friday. LHP Jon Lester (11-4, 2.95 ERA) faces LHP Dillon Overton (1-2, 9.33) in the opener.