Fowler ignites Cubs as offensive 'nuisance'

OF has reached in 13 of 22 plate appearances after 3-hit night vs. Fish

Fowler ignites Cubs as offensive 'nuisance'

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon called Dexter Fowler a nuisance, but he meant it in a nice way.

Fowler ignited the Cubs' offense Tuesday night with three hits, including a leadoff triple, scored two runs and drove in another in a 3-2 win over the Marlins in front of 40,419 at Wrigley Field.

Maddon's message to Fowler before each at-bat is, "You go, we go," and Fowler followed through.

"Dexter got the whole thing rolling," Maddon said. "When he plays at that level, he picks everybody else up and it accelerates everybody's confidence, hitting-wise. He's a nuisance to the other team."

Maddon on 3-2 win over Marlins

The Cubs definitely missed Fowler when he was sidelined for 27 games because of a sore hamstring. He's now reached in 13 of 22 plate appearances in his last five games, and has scored at least one run in each game. And when Fowler scores at least one run, the Cubs are 87-32, and they're 27-4 when he scores at least two.

Fowler's triple to right

"He's the engine of this machine, and as he goes, we go," Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel said. "That's hard to find. It's nice to have him back."

Fowler on approach at the dish

Fowler tripled to lead off the Chicago first and scored on Willson Contreras' single, then scored on a crazy play in the third, and added an RBI single in the fifth. It's just another day for the center fielder.

Contreras' RBI single

"I take pride in my job," Fowler said. "I just get on base any way I can. If that's taking pitches, drawing walks, getting hits, you just try to get on and let the big boys do their thing."

Fowler crosses the dish

After going 3-for-4, Fowler raised his on-base percentage to .403, and his 69 triples since the start of the 2009 season are the most in baseball.

"That's been my job since I came up," Fowler said of his role. "You're a leadoff guy, so you're supposed to lead it off."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.