The Marlins did most of their damage again in the first inning.
But less than 24 hours after a similar early offensive outburst didn’t hold up, the Marlins found a way to hang on and beat the Cubs 4-2 before an estimated 25,110 fans at Marlins Park.
The Marlins scored three runs in the first inning for the second game in a row, as Marcell Ozuna singled to drive in the first run and Martin Prado brought home two more with a double to left-center field.
The combined efforts of Edinson Volquez and the Marlins’ bullpen helped them earn a split of their four-game series against the reigning World Series champions.
The Marlins (34-40) went 4-3 against the Nationals and Cubs (38-37) during the first two legs of their current 10-game homestand that continues on Tuesday against the Mets.
“We know we can compete with anyone,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “If we’re able to stay in the game and have our pen, basically our guys that we want to use late in the game, rested, then we’re in pretty good shape.”
The first-inning offense coupled with a solo home run in the seventh inning by Giancarlo Stanton were enough for the Marlins to win for the third time in six games despite scoring only 15 runs in that span and recording only 10 hits in the three victories.
“So we have, in a sense, a little bit of a stretch where we haven’t swung the bats great as a club,” Mattingly said. “But I think it’s a good sign that we’re able to scratch a few wins in there with that. And hopefully this off day kind of rejuvenates and gets us back going again.”
Stanton took a little pressure off the bullpen in the seventh when he smashed his 20th home run of the season.
Stanton’s laser off reliever Pedro Strop barely cleared the higher part of the left-field wall and landed in the Cubs’ bullpen.
Stanton matched Ozuna for the team lead in home runs and became the 11th player in major-league history to hit 20 or more home runs in each of his first eight seasons.
Volquez gave up two runs in another nerve-wracking start in which he walked five and struck out four over five innings.
But twice he minimized the potential damage, as the Cubs scored both of their runs on sacrifice flies.
Volquez escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second inning when he walked three but didn’t allow a run after getting Anthony Rizzo to fly out.
In the fourth inning, the Cubs loaded the bases again on three singles.
This time, Rizzo drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, but Volquez struck out Kris Bryant to end the frame.
“I don’t like [pitching with guys on base], but I had no choice,” Volquez said. “You have to find a way to get out of it.”
It was the third consecutive start in which Volquez walked more batters than he struck out, and his walk total grew to 49 for the season, which is the second-most in the majors behind the Rockies’ Tyler Chatwood (50).
But with Sunday’s win, Volquez (4-8) has also won four of his past five decisions — including his no-hitter on June 3 — since starting the season 0-7.
Volquez also improved to 8-0 with a 3.10 ERA in 11 career starts (12 appearances) against the Cubs.
“I didn’t know that,” Volquez said. “That’s good. But I had no idea.”
Jarlin Garcia, David Phelps and A.J. Ramos combined to pitch four scoreless innings, with Ramos picking up a four-out save, his 12th of the season.
It was Ramos’ second four-out save of the season, with both coming against the Cubs.