The Cubs came back to Wrigley on Friday with the goal of snapping a three-game losing streak. Chicago got an excellent starting pitching performance and a contribution from their highly-touted rookie to beat the Marlins for the first time this season.
Nico Hoerner singled in the bottom of the 1st inning and eventually made it to third after a balk and a groundout. Seiya Suzuki then ripped a two-out hit to left field off Edward Cabrera to put the Cubs ahead 1-0. Cabrera and Justin Steele both pitched very well early and the score was unchanged into the 5th.
Ian Happ connected on a long two-run homer into right center to increase the North Siders’ advantage to three. A Yuli Gurriel sacrifice fly in the top of the 6th was the only blemish against Steele as he went seven strong innings.
The Marlins intentionally walked Trey Mancini to put two men on base with two out in the bottom of the 8th for Matt Mervis. The rookie, who had gone 0-for-3 with two strikeouts to that point in his debut, smoked an RBI single to center against lefty Tanner Scott for his first career hit. Mark Leiter Jr. closed out the 4-1 Cubs win. (Box score)
First major league hit ✅
First major league RBI ✅
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 5, 2023
The Marlins had two men on with two outs in the top of the 4th inning when Jazz Chisholm Jr. hit a line smash to left. Happ got a great jump and made an outstanding running catch at the warning track to preserve the Cubs’ one-run lead.
Why the Cubs Won
Steele once again pitched like an ace and was able to put the brakes on a potential losing streak with a dominant performance.
Stats That Matter
- Steele could have gone another inning but he did plenty in seven: 7 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 4 K, and 0 BB.
- Miguel Amaya put a couple of excellent swings on pitches and got robbed on a laser beam hit right at third base. He will definitely get that first career hit very soon, although he did reach base for the first time on a painful hit by pitch to the elbow.
- Hoerner was the only Cub with two hits on Friday.
The crowd at Wrigley Field went crazy when Mervis got his first hit and it was an electric atmosphere overall. Hopefully, this will be a motivating factor for him and the rest of the Cubs. If they continue to get pitching performances like Steele had Friday, they will be able to avoid the kind of prolonged losing streaks they’ve had the last few seasons.