Wrigley Field has never been very kind to Randy Wolf, a 15-year major-league veteran who has pitched in the “friendly confines” on numerous occasions, and with little success.
Saturday proved no different.
The last-place Cubs handed the Marlins a second consecutive defeat, overpowering Wolf and Miami, 5-2, with three home runs and seven extra-base hits all told on an overcast day.
Junior Lake clubbed a pair of homers, and Emilio Bonifacio — an unlikely power source — also put one out as the Cubs rolled past the sluggish Marlins, who need a win on Sunday to avoid a sweep.
“Two back-to-back games we were pretty quiet,” manager Mike Redmond said. “Coming from Tampa, where we were really swinging the bats well in that series, we’ve cooled off a little bit.”
The Marlins scored 16 runs in their two games in St. Petersburg.
They have managed five in their two games so far in Chicago, and three of those came in Friday’s ninth inning.
On Saturday, Christian Yelich landed a home run in the basket in center, and the Marlins scored their other run on Casey McGehee’s groundball out.
Otherwise, the lineup hasn’t produced.
The Marlins totaled only five hits off Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija, who went seven innings, and failed to put a runner on base after the sixth.
“It happens,” said Yelich, who had two of the Marlins’ five hits. “It’s baseball. We’re not going to score eight, nine runs every day, as nice as that would be. We are capable of doing that on certain days. Other days, it’s not going to happen.”
It hasn’t the past two games for Miami.
After Yelich’s solo shot put the Marlins on top in the third, the Cubs struck back in the bottom half of the inning when Wolf gave up a one-out single to Samardzija.
That brought up Bonifacio, a slap hitter who had hit a whopping total of 10 home runs in 2,284 career at-bats.
But he took Wolf deep, landing his first homer of the season in the Wrigley bleachers in left to put the Cubs on top.
They would stay there to the end.
Lake hit a two-out homer off Wolf in the fifth, and Wolf allowed another run to score in the sixth on a wild pitch.
Wolf gave up nine hits and one walk in 5 2/3 innings.
“There were times where my ball just came over and got too much of the plate,” Wolf said. “[With] Bonifacio, I was trying to go away. I threw a fastball right down the middle. To Lake, I got him in another hitter’s count. I kind of got my changeup up there. He’s a guy with a lot of power, and if you make a mistake like that, he’ll punish you.”
Lake also homered in the seventh off Chris Hatcher.
With top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney scheduled to pitch Saturday night for Triple A New Orleans, there is always the possibility of a promotion looming in the background.
But Redmond didn’t sound like he was ready to give up on Wolf, who was making only his third start.
“I thought he pitched all right,” Redmond said.
“He gave us a chance. He didn’t get a whole lot on the edges [Saturday], and he’s a guy who relies on the edges of the plate. They made him throw it over the plate and got some big hits. He gave us everything he had. We didn’t help him out offensively.”
Wolf threw 109 pitches but said he “felt fine” physically.
“It’s my job to do a better job of getting the ball on the corner instead of the heart of the plate,” he said.