Baseball / Sports

3 Cubs homers overpower Marlins

CHICAGO -- The breeze has been mild by Windy City standards the past two days.

The windmilling Miami Marlins stirred more air by flailing futilely while dropping the first two games of a weekend series with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The Marlins got a solo home run by Christian Yelich, but otherwise generated little of substance Saturday in a 5-2 defeat.

The Cubs, who began the day with the worst record in the National League, rode two homers by Junior Lake and Emilio Bonifacio's first of the season to their fifth consecutive win.

That was plenty of fire power to silence the Marlins, who haven't been able to build on their four-game sweep of Tampa Bay, including an 11-run outburst Thursday.

"It happens. It's baseball. We're not going to score eight, nine runs every day, as nice as that would be," Yelich said.

Yelich, with only one hit in his previous five games, had two hits, including his sixth homer. He sent a Jeff Samardzija fastball into the netting in right-center to give the Marlins their only lead in the series, but it was short-lived.

After striking out 17 times in Friday's 13-inning defeat, the Marlins began the day leading the National League with 530 punch-outs, four more then the Mets. They did avoid reaching double digits in strikeouts after doing so in five consecutive games, but made little contact of consequence.

Samardzija (2-5) held Miami to five hits and struck out eight in seven innings on the way to winning for only the second time in 13 starts. Samardzija has been somewhat of a hard-luck story in fashioning a 2.54 ERA with little to show for it, but he was coming off the worst start of his career in giving up eight runs in three innings against the Brewers.

"He's got good stuff; one of those guys coming into the game you know you're going to have to battle and kind of scrap for some runs," Yelich said.

"I feel like we've been having good at-bats. We've hit some balls hard, we've gotten guys in scoring position, we sometimes haven't been able to get that big hit or they just kind of find a way to get out trouble."

Giancarlo Stanton had struck out five consecutive times over the two games before lining a solid double to left in the sixth. He sent a long fly to center in the eighth that died in the late afternoon wind building off Lake Michigan.

"As we all know around here, when it starts blowing in, it's pretty tough. Probably bad timing on when he hit that ball," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.

The loss dropped the Marlins below .500 all-time in the regular season (44-45) at Wrigley, and left them 84-84 in all games against the Cubs.

Expatriated Marlins have figured prominently in both losses. Bonifacio gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead in the third with a two-run shot off Randy Wolf. Bonifacio drove a fastball several rows into the bleachers in left for only the 11th homer of a career spanning 668 games.

Wolf gave up two of the homers and four runs in 5 2/3 innings in falling to 1-2 in two starts since he was signed to fill the void of Jose Fernandez's season-ending elbow injury.

"There were times where my ball just came over and got too much of the plate. Bonifacio, I was trying to go away. I threw a fastball right down the middle," Wolf said. "To Lake, I got him in another hitter's count. I kind of got my changeup up there. He's a guy with a lot of power, and if you make a mistake like that, he'll punish you."

Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria saved a run for Wolf by cutting down Anthony Rizzo trying to score on a double by Starlin Castro on a relay from Yelich to end the third. Castro doubled again leading off the bottom of the sixth and eventually scored on a Wolf wild pitch.

(c)2014 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

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