Miami Marlins

Early home run enough to sink Marlins in series opener against Cubs

Miami Marlins' Marcell Ozuna (13) slides safely into third base as Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, left, takes a late throw during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Mon., June 5, 2017, in Chicago.
Miami Marlins' Marcell Ozuna (13) slides safely into third base as Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, left, takes a late throw during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Mon., June 5, 2017, in Chicago. AP

Dan Straily delivered another solid outing on the mound Monday.

Unfortunately for the Marlins, it started a couple of batters too late.

Straily surrendered a leadoff double to Ben Zobrist and a two-run home run to Kris Bryant in succession to open his start Monday. And with the Marlins only able to convert one scoring chance all night, the quick outburst was enough for the Cubs to pick up a 3-1 win at Wrigley Field.

“Obviously not the way I wanted to get going there with the first two guys, but you can’t sit there and feel sorry for yourself,” Straily said. “There’s a lot of ballgame left at that point obviously, so just had to keep pitching, make better pitches. It’s really that simple.”

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Marlins (24-32), who were coming off an 8-2 stretch over their previous 10 games.

With Justin Bour sidelined with a bone bruise, the Marlins couldn’t carry over the momentum from their stellar homestand.

Straily settled down following Bryant’s homer for most of what would turn out to be a seven-inning start in which he gave up three runs on six hits and struck out five with no walks.

“[Marlins pitching coach] Juan [Nieves] came up to me — I don’t remember exactly what inning — and there was something small I was doing,” Straily said. “It’s not really a common thing for a pitching coach to come up to you mid-game and tell you something, and he did. It was very small and I was able to make that adjustment and was able to make better-quality pitches after that.”

The Cubs scored their third run on a solo home run in the fourth by former Miami high school star Albert Almora, Jr.

That inning began with Straily giving up two hard hit fly balls that were caught near the wall to start the fourth inning. Then Almora, Jr. hit a third such fly ball that sailed over the wall in left center field to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead.

The Marlins scored their lone run after J.T. Riddle doubled to lead off the sixth and came around to score two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Dee Gordon.

But that was the only opportunity converted by the Marlins, who went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

Cubs starter Eddie Butler, who had only pitched into the sixth inning once in four prior starts this season, went 5 2/3 innings in which he allowed one run on three hits before being removed after Giancarlo Stanton’s two-out double. The Marlins didn’t capitalize, however, as reliever Mike Montgomery induced Christian Yelich to ground out.

“Straily gives us seven [innings] and gives our offense a chance and really we just didn’t do anything,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “The couple of times we did they ended quickly and we just didn’t do a whole lot.”

Riddle led off the eighth with an infield single, but was subsequently picked off at first by Montgomery on a play in which he was initially ruled safe but overturned after a Cubs review challenge.

“That was a nice play by [Montgomery], but I think that will be a good learning experience for J.T.,” Mattingly said. “I think that’s something he’ll learn from. Maybe he just got a little too far off. He may have slipped a little bit getting back. It’s something we talk about. Outs are like gold and you can’t let them slip away.”

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