Cubs’ bid for perfect home stand spoiled by Marlins in 4-3 loss
BY TONI GINNETTI For Sun-Times Media June 8, 2014 4:51PM
Updated: June 8, 2014 10:14PM
Things must be changing when a Cubs team is disappointed after losing only one game on a six-game home-stand.
‘‘They’re disappointed because we were on the cusp of a perfect homestand,’’ manager Rick Renteria said after the bullpen that had been doing well the last two weeks gave up the costly late-inning runs.
‘‘It was a little hiccup, but [Marlins starter Henderson] Alvarez is no easy pickings. We just couldn’t get it finished.’’
The loss spoiled one of the best games for starter Jake Arrieta, who threw six scoreless innings, giving up only three singles, walking none and striking out seven.
‘‘The command has tightened up,’’ Arrieta said. ‘‘I’d still like to become even better in certain areas.’’
The game was scoreless until the sixth, when the Cubs scored twice. One run was unearned after an errant play at first that caused Alvarez to suffer a hip strain as he stretched awkwardly to catch a throw covering first. He had to leave the game.
But the Marlins came back with two off Brian Schlitter in the seventh inning. The Marlins added two more off Pedro Strop (0-3) in the eighth.
The Cubs scored a run in the seventh but were denied more when Starlin Castro (1-for-5) and Nate Schierholtz (triple, two RBI) struck out with the bases loaded.
‘‘Even though we lost, we go to Pittsburgh on a high note because of how well we played in pretty much all facets of the game,’’ Arrieta said. ‘‘The energy is at a pretty high level now, and it’s kind of a contagious thing. When we get a few wins in a row, it breeds confidence in that clubhouse.’’
The bright spots
The loss prevented the Cubs from their first perfect homestand of six or more games since June 2008, when they swept the Dodgers in three games and the Rockies in four. The Cubs still have a winning home record of 15-14.
‘‘We played good, and hopefully we stay like that on the road,’’ said Castro, who doubled and scored in the sixth.
Emilio Bonifacio was 3-for-4 with a sacrifice, his ninth multihit game at home.
Luis Valbuena hit his 14th double, one short of his total in 108 games last season.
Start to finish
As remarkable as Neil Ramirez’s 0.64 ERA in 16 relief appearances is the fact that the right-hander had never pitched out of the bullpen. The Cubs switched the former starter in the spring.
‘‘You have to let them learn sometimes through trials,’’ Renteria said of Ramirez’s early nerves in relief. ‘‘Sometimes you lose a battle to win the war.’’
Ramirez’s ERA through his first 16 appearances is a franchise record since 1914, surpassing Jeff Samardzija’s 0.64 ERA through his first 15 relief appearances. Samardzija’s ERA climbed to 0.93 after 16 appearances.
On the farm
Left-hander Zac Rosscup threw a perfect inning Saturday and struck out two at Class AAA Iowa in his first rehab outing. He has been out since May 10 with shoulder soreness.
At Class AA Tennessee, third baseman Kris Bryant stayed hot, hitting his league-leading 21st homer Sunday after going 3-for-3 with a double and a homer Saturday. Bryant also has eight steals.