Emilio Bonifacio took a chunk of ivy out of the Wrigley Field wall with a leadoff triple in Wednesday’s fifth inning. But the Marlins couldn’t put even a small dent in the score, as Bonifacio was left stranded.
Four different Marlins had a chance to drive in Bonifacio, and none did.
That wasted opportunity for the Marlins was a costly one in a 5-1 setback to the Chicago Cubs that was called in the eighth inning due to rain.
"Once again, we don't bring those guys in," Guillen said. "That's what we've been doing the best, leaving people on base when we need to drive them in. Any time we don't, the result is the one we have tonight."
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The Marlins, one of the worst hitting teams in the majors with runners in scoring position, added to their woes in Wednesday’s loss by going 0 for 8 in those situations.
When it was their turn to produce, the Cubs came through in a big way, breaking a 1-1 tie with four runs in the seventh off Marlins starter Josh Johnson, who was outstanding to that point.
The outcome dropped the Marlins 10 games behind the first-place Nationals, further diminishing whatever thoughts the front office might have had that the team can work its way back into contention.
Wednesday’s offensive performance sure didn’t instill any confidence that it could happen.
The defining moment occurred in the fifth. With the score knotted 1-1, Bonifacio sprinted around the bases when his long fly ball caromed off the ivy-covered wall in right center, finally stopping at third.
After Carlos Lee grounded to third for the first out, Logan Morrison hit a chopper that was fielded by Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and left Bonifacio frozen in his tracks between third and home. Bonifacio got caught in a rundown, but he made it back to third safely when Cubs catcher Geovany Soto dropped the ball.
"When Soto dropped the ball, I go 'Here we go, the ball's bouncing our way,'" Guillen said. "Nothing happened."
Despite the second chance, the Marlins still couldn’t produce.
Hanley Ramirez struck out looking and Greg Dobbs bounced to first to end the inning.
It was an especially unproductive night for Ramirez, who went 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position and striking out on those of those occasions.
Johnson, meanwhile, was having one of his best nights all season.
He didn’t allow a hit until Starlin Castro homered to lead off the fourth, and had given up only two hits when the Cubs erupted in the seventh.
"Things were rolling along. I was getting early contact," Johnson said. "But, then, a chopper and a bloop, and there was nothing you could do about it."
Alfonso Soriano reached on an infield hit in which Omar Infante’s long throw from behind the bag at second pulled Lee off the bag at first. A wild pitch advanced Soriano to second and Bryan LaHair’s ground ball to the right side of the infield put him on third with one out.
Unlike the Marlins, the Cubs didn’t squander their opportunity.
Soto bounced a high-hopper over the outstretched glove of Ramirez, who was playing in at third, and the Cubs ended up scoring four runs in the inning while sending nine men to the plate.