There was a huge sense of optimism for the Marlins after they had won five of six, but a lack of offense the last two days has chilled that positive attitude.
For the second day in a row, the Marlins were not able to do much with their bats, falling 2-0 in front of 37,764 at Wrigley Field despite a stellar seven innings delivered by starter Mat Latos.
“It’s frustrating right now,” manager Dan Jennings said. “We were on such a good momentum run.
“You have to be able to win these close games by executing when you get those runners in scoring position and doing those little things to get guys moved over into scoring position.”
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After going 1-14 with runners in scoring position Saturday night in a 7-2 loss, the Marlins managed only five hits Sunday and were ever able to solve Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks, who went 7 1/3 innings with six strikeouts.
“Hendricks did a good job of being in the zone with his changeup,” said first baseman Justin Bour. “He pitched well and did a good job of keeping us off balance.”
Latos allowed only one hit Sunday, but with two on and two out in the first, a Latos fastball got away from catcher Jeff Mathis, allowing Chicago leftfielder Chris Coghlan to score.
“That one run in the first inning wound up costing us a ballgame,” Latos said. “That is the way it is sometimes.”
But that was the only mark against the Marlins starter as he allowed just one hit over seven innings, marking the fourth time he has accomplished that feat in his career.
“I didn’t feel I had really good stuff early,” Latos added. “In the first inning I got away with some pitches. I was lucky today. I settled down later in the game.”
The only major threat the Marlins could muster all day occurred in the seventh when leftfielder Christian Yelich walked to lead off the inning, followed by a single by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
But fly outs by Bour and rightfielder Cole Gillespie, followed by Derek Dietrich bouncing out to Hendricks put an end to the inning.
In the eighth, pinch-hitter Michael Morse — activated Sunday after being on the disabled list since May 26 — struck out looking and Bour was called out to end the game by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson.
Jennings did not comment directly about the calls, but did note how 64 of the 91 Hendricks pitches were called strikes.
“Sometimes when everything is a strike you have to put things in play when you can,” he said.
Jennings refused to place the offensive struggles on the absence of slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who is recovering from surgery after breaking his left wrist.
“We won five out of six without [Stanton],” he said. “He is not coming back in the next two or three weeks and it is going to run the course of the surgery. There is enough talent here. It is about executing when the opportunity presents itself.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ After the game, center fielder Marcell Ozuna was optioned to Triple A New Orleans. Ozuna was 0-3 Sunday and 1-36 over his past 10 games.
▪ With the Cubs about to play their crosstown rival White Sox next week, Chicago manager Joe Maddon was asked whether there was a trophy given when the Marlins played the Tampa Bay Rays, where Maddon managed from 2006 through last season. Unlike the White Sox and Cubs, Maddon indicated that the Marlins-Rays series wasn’t much of a rivalry.
“I think there was a bushel of oranges,” Maddon joked. “It was a contrived attempt to make it a rivalry. It either is or it is not. You can not contrive a rivalry.”
▪ Monday: Off
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Dan Haren (6-5, 3.45 ERA) at Boston Red Sox LHP Wade Miley (8-7, 4.53), 7:10 p.m., Fenway Park.