Marlins overpowered on mound, at plate vs. Cubs

Wolf, 'pen surrender three homers; Yelich launches solo blast

Marlins overpowered on mound, at plate vs. Cubs

CHICAGO -- Randy Wolf on Saturday afternoon gave the Marlins pretty much what they wanted -- a fighting chance against an opposing ace.

But when matched against arguably the best right-hander in the National League this season, Jeff Samardzija, Miami came up a little short.

Wolf surrendered a two-run homer to Emilio Bonifacio and a solo shot to Junior Lake, who went deep twice on the day, which provided enough power for the Cubs to defeat the Marlins, 5-2, at Wrigley Field.

Lake's second shot came off Chris Hatcher in the seventh inning, providing more cushion for the Cubs to extend their winning streak to five.

Not overpowering, Wolf's at his best when he works the corners. Having to be precise, the lefty was just a little off.

"He didn't get a whole lot on the edges today," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "He's a guy who kind of relies on the edges. They made him throw it over the plate and got some big hits.

"But we were quiet offensively, too. Two back-to-back games, we were pretty quiet. Coming from Tampa where we were really swinging the bats well in that series, we've cooled off a little bit. We've got to get that going."

After taking two straight at Tampa Bay to open the road trip, the Marlins now have combined to score five runs in 22 innings at Wrigley Field. They lost, 5-3, in 13 innings on Friday.

Christian Yelich had two hits, including a home run off Samardzija, but the Marlins weren't able to mount much else.

"It happens. It's baseball," Yelich said. "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."

Samardzija allowed two runs in seven innings and struck out eight. Miami, meanwhile, will look to avoid being swept in the series finale on Sunday.

Wolf gave a game effort, allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings while throwing 109 pitches. The 37-year-old, who missed all of last year due to his second Tommy John surgery, had his highest pitch count since posting 112 while with Milwaukee against Miami on July 4, 2012.

"I felt fine," Wolf said. "We're kind of on an unusual schedule these next two weeks. Have two days off in four days. I don't know what's going to happen with the rotation with these days off coming up. But I'm kind of a feel guy, so the more I'm out there, usually, the better I feel."

The Marlins are off on Monday and Thursday next week, creating uncertainty about when Wolf will make his next start. Miami also may be tinkering with its rotation if top prospect Andrew Heaney is promoted from Triple-A New Orleans during the series against the Pirates next weekend at Marlins Park.

Bonifacio, a former Marlin, has just 11 career homers. But his first of the season was a big one, because it gave Chicago a lead it wouldn't relinquish.

"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 will punish you.

"To me, those are the mistakes that hurt me, throwing the ball over the plate like that. It's my job to do a better job of getting the ball on the corner instead of the heart of the plate."

Yelich gave the Marlins a short-lived lead with a home run with one out in the third inning. It was the 22-year-old's sixth shot, and his first since May 16 at San Francisco.

In his 18 games between homers, Yelich had his share of struggles at the plate, batting .169 (12-for-71) in the stretch. The left fielder had one hit in 17 at-bats in his previous five games.

Against Samardzija on Saturday, Yelich showed signs of turning things around. He singled to lead off the game and delivered his home run to center.

"Yeli keeps battling," Redmond said. "He gives you good at bats. He's got power. You see it in there. It's just really a matter of time and consistency for him."

The Cubs responded quickly after the Yelich blast. Samardzija ripped a one-out single in the third and Bonifacio, with the count full, delivered the game-changing two-run shot.

"Any Major League hitter has the strength and ability to drive the ball out of the ballpark," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "You don't expect it out of Boni, because you don't look for him to get homers."

Miami closed the gap to 3-2 in the sixth inning on Casey McGehee's RBI groundout to first. Giancarlo Stanton, who doubled, raced home without a play. Stanton set up the run by taking third on Samardzija's wild pitch.

The Cubs added on a run in the fifth inning on Lake's two-out home run to center.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.