It didn’t feel like home, not with a sizable chunk of the 24,684 fans at Marlins Park on Friday night clad in blue and exercising their vocal chords for the Chicago Cubs.
But, technically speaking, it was a home win for the Marlins, who gutted out a 2-0 victory over the defending World Series champions.
One night after the Cubs rang up 11 runs in an 11-1 blowout win, Jose Urena and the bullpen put the clamps on them in a gritty win that continued the Marlins’ recent success at Marlins Park.
The Marlins (33-39) have won 13 of their past 17 in the home confines, a marked turnaround from a disastrous stretch in late April and May when they lost 12 of 14 there.
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Despite considerable fan support for the Cubs (37-36) on Friday, the Marlins did just enough to muzzle the loyal following.
Urena (6-2) delivered six scoreless innings and the bullpen, taking advantage of two double-play grounders in the eighth and ninth, blanked the Cubs the rest of the way as the Marlins evened the four-game weekend series.
Urena has won his past five decisions.
“I think you see a guy who’s pitching more,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We know the power’s there. He’s using his changeup. He’s using his slider. It at least makes you think as a hitter.”
The Marlins were unable to do much with Cubs starter John Lackey, who held them to three hits over seven innings. But they did just enough to squeak out a victory.
Giancarlo Stanton smashed his 19th home run, a 458-foot solo blast to center in the third. And the Marlins manufactured a run in the sixth on the legs of Dee Gordon.
Gordon blooped a single to start the inning, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error, and tagged and scored on a Christian Yelich sacrifice fly.
It was the second time in three days the Marlins mustered a win with a scarcity of hits. They defeated the Nationals and Max Scherzer on Wednesday with only two hits. They totaled three on Friday, with two of those belonging to Stanton.
“There wasn’t much hitting going on,” Stanton said. “The pitchers were on point. It was a game that any mistakes, the other team was going to win. It’s good to know that sometimes our pitching can carry us.”
Urena was at his very best on Friday when the Cubs put runners aboard with two outs, managing to avoid damage. The Cubs had two-out baserunners in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings. But Urena got the third out he needed every time.
“The times he got in trouble, he had two quick outs and then the inning gets extended with guys on base, and he was able to get out of it,” Mattingly said.
After Urena was lifted to start the seventh, the bullpen got to work. Kyle Barraclough strolled through the seventh, David Phelps took care of the eighth, and A.J. Ramos worked the ninth for his 11th save.
Ramos got Albert Almora Jr. to ground into a double play, one of three hit into by the Cubs, to end the game.
The Barraclough-Phelps-Ramos late-inning sequence was one that worked to good results last season but hasn’t been seen that often this season.
“When you looked at it last year, when we got on a good roll, it seemed like it was every night that we were going out there,” Phelps said. “Hopefully, we can take tonight’s game and kind of run with it. It’s an equation that’s shown it works. We’ve had a tough time as a pen getting the ball to A.J. this year.”