clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Marlins 5, Cubs 4: A long day’s journey into yet another one-run loss

That was... not much fun, although props to Eric Hosmer for a game-tying single in the ninth.

Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

You know, the whole extra-inning thing could have been avoided, maybe, if Matt Mervis hadn’t tried to take that extra base in the fifth inning. Or if Brad Boxberger doesn’t give up that second run in the eighth. Or...

Well, a whole bunch of or’s that I could go through, but the end result would be the same: A frustrating 5-4, 14-inning loss to the Marlins that dropped the Cubs’ record in one-run games to 2-8, and put them back at the .500 mark overall at 17-17.

Before I recap the events of Sunday at the ol’ ballyard, a couple of facts: This was the longest Cubs game (by innings) since the placed runner rule came into effect in 2020. In fact, this was only the third game, period, that went longer than 13 innings since 2020. (The others: a 16-inning Dodgers/Padres game in 2021 and a 15-inning Guardians/Twins game in 2022.)

Also, from BCB’s JohnW53:

Today’s game is only the fifth that the Cubs have lost in which an opponent scored in three different extra innings. They lost to the Mets, 7-5, on August 10, 1981; to the Dodgers, 6-5, on June 18, 1991; and to the Cardinals, 9-8, on August 8, 1998, all in 13 innings. They lost to the White Sox, 5-4, on May 29, 2022, in 12 innings. Only the 1981 game was at Wrigley Field. In that one, both teams scored three runs in the 11th and one in the 12th before the Mets scored in the 13th.

All right, enough history, here’s what happened Sunday afternoon.

Hayden Wesneski and Sandy Alcantara matched zeroes for four innings until Yuli Gurriel put a ball in the left-field basket for a run in the top of the fifth. The Marlins might have scored more, but the Cubs made a couple of nice plays catching runners at third and the plate. Here’s one of those, a good throw by Nick Madrigal [VIDEO].

As I noted above, the Cubs might have been in position for a rally in the bottom of the fifth. Mervis led off with a single and one out later, Miguel Amaya singled to right. Mervis, who is not a fast runner, tried to take third and was thrown out. Instead of runners on first and second and one out with the top of the order up, now there’s just a runner on first and two out.

With Alcantara dealing, maybe the Cubs don’t score — but you have to give yourself the chance. That was not good baserunning.

The game continued 1-0 into the eighth, when Boxberger gave up the second Marlins run with two out. That turned out to be important when the Cubs put together a nice rally in the bottom of the ninth in front of the largest crowd so far this year at Wrigley Field, 38,196.

With one out, Ian Happ singled. Cody Bellinger doubled him in [VIDEO].

Bellinger took third on the throw to the plate (ruled an error), where Eric Hosmer’s single tied the game [VIDEO].

Patrick Wisdom ran for Hosmer and stole second as Nelson Velázquez struck out. But he was stranded when Mervis also struck out.

On to extras. The Marlins scored off Mark Leiter Jr. in the top of the 10th on an RBI triple by Joey Wendle.

But the Cubs tied it up in the bottom of the inning. Mervis, the placed runner, took third on a ground out by Madrigal. Amaya was hit by a pitch, and Nico Hoerner tied things up again [VIDEO].

There’s only one out with Madrigal in scoring position, but Dansby Swanson hit into a force play with pinch-runner Seiya Suzuki taking third. Unfortunately, Happ popped up to end the inning.

No one scored in the 11th or 12th, though the Cubs did get a runner to third base in each of those innings. However, if you missed this great catch in the 12th by Swanson, it’s worth watching [VIDEO].

The Marlins took the lead in the top of the 13th on a sacrifice fly, but once again the Cubs tied the gaame. Nico was the placed runner and he advanced to third on a fly to right by Swanson. Happ’s single made it 4-4 [VIDEO].

So of course, in a game this long, how does the winning run score? On a balk, of all things [VIDEO].

I saw that in person. I have watched the video several times. I still can’t see how that’s a balk.

But there it was. Now, several pitches later Jesus Sanchez doubled, so maybe the run scores anyway. Or maybe not, maybe the pitch sequencing is different without the balk, with a runner still on third base.

In the bottom of the 14th, Trey Mancini was the placed runner. He went to third with two out on a ground ball by Madrigal, but Tucker Barnhart struck out to end the game.

Frustrating, no doubt. There were some good performances in this game, particularly by Wesneski, who threw six good innings and allowed just the homer to Gurriel. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out five. Since Wesneski started the season with two bad starts, he’s thrown 28x innings and posted a 2.22 ERA and walked just two batters (out of 110 faced). That’s quality pitching. Most times, a starter putting up the numbers Wesneski did today will win. Tip o’ the cap to Alcantara, who nearly threw a complete-game shutout. I was actually surprised Skip Schumaker left him in to throw 113 pitches. He is just the fourth starter to throw that many pitches this year (the most, 114 by Oakland’s Ken Waldichuk against the Royals on Saturday).

I don’t really know what else to say. I’m no fan of the Manfred man, but we’re stuck with it and who knows how this game winds up without it. In any case, the Cubs did take two of three from the Marlins and are now done with them for the year. If they can take two of three from the Cardinals this week, that will be a successful homestand.

The series vs. St. Louis begins Monday evening at Wrigley Field. Marcus Stroman will start for the Cubs and Miles Mikolas will go for the Cardinals. Game time is 6:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (also on MLB Network outside the Cubs and Cardinals market territories).