Justin Bour continued to be cruel to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
For the second consecutive game against the team that originally drafted him, Bour belted an early home run that erased an early deficit.
And this time, it resulted in a Marlins comeback victory.
The blast ignited the Marlins’ offense as it tacked on six more runs and led to a 9-6 win over the Cubs at Marlins Park.
The Marlins (40-35) beat the Cubs (48-25) for the second time in three games, and won their 40th game of the season — something they didn’t do last season until July 22.
“Justin’s home run got us right back in it and then we were able to open it up a little bit,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “This was just team. Everyone extended rallies and was able to run [Cubs starter John] Lackey out of there and get to their bullpen.”
Lackey gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings, walked three and struck out five.
Bour, a Rule 5 Draft acquisition of the Marlins from the Cubs in 2013, drove in four runs in consecutive games for the first time in his career and homered in his third consecutive game.
Bour’s two-run home run to right field in the fourth inning marked the second time this season he has hit home runs in back-to-back games, and it kick-started a comeback from an early 4-1 deficit. In Friday’s game, Bour hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning that erased a 4-0 deficit.
“We just didn’t give up,” Bour said. “With this team you are never really out of the game. It’s just a matter of taking good at-bats and believing the team will come through in the end.”
After the Cubs drew to within three runs in the ninth, A.J. Ramos entered and nailed down his 24th save of the season to tie the franchise record for consecutive saves (33) held by former teammate Steve Cishek.
Ramos’ streak is the longest in team history to open a season.
“My attitude the whole season has been that it doesn’t matter how many you save in a row, it’s the next one that’s most important,” Ramos said. “I didn’t know I was approaching the record until two days ago. For me, I’m just trying to get as many chances as possible and nail down every one of them.”
Bour’s double in the fifth inning followed Giancarlo Stanton’s go-ahead single and came against a lefty reliever Gerardo Concepcion. Bour, a left-handed hitter, entered the game with a .215 average for his career against left-handed pitching as opposed to .274 against righties.
Stanton, who has hit safely in six of his past eight games and has raised his average from .193 to .219 during that span, drove in three runs in a game for the second time this season and for the first time since April 26.
The Marlins, who entered the game ranked 27th in the majors in home runs, have homered 12 times over the past nine games.
Martin Prado tied the score in the fifth inning with a double that scored Ichiro Suzuki, who reached on an infield single on the previous at-bat.
It was Suzuki’s 2,984th career hit, bringing him within one of tying Sam Rice for 30th on MLB’s all-time list.
The offensive outburst Saturday nullified a poor start by starter Paul Clemens, who gave up two home runs and four runs overall on four hits and five walks. But Clemens picked up his first major-league win as a starting pitcher and first victory since June 12, 2013, as a reliever for the Astros.
Clemens struck out five but struggled early with his command. Clemens has allowed five home runs and seven earned runs in two starts (10 innings) since being called up this past Sunday.
After giving up a solo home run to Miguel Montero in the second, Addison Russell got a hold of a Clemens fastball and sent it into the stands in left center field to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead. The damage all came after Clemens recorded the first two outs in that inning on two pitches.
“I made it tough on myself especially in that third inning,” Clemens said. “My velocity is down from what it usually is around 93-95 [mph]. Any time a team’s lineup is back to the top of the order in the second inning you have to really start bearing down and throwing quality stuff.”