The Florida Marlins score three runs in the eighth inning to break open a tight game and propel them to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Marlins KO Cubs in eighth
The Florida Marlins scored three runs in the eighth inning to break open a tight game and propel them to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday. John Baker hit a RBI single with two outs in the deciding inning to put the Marlins ahead before pinch hitter Wes Helms followed with a two-run double as Florida stayed in contention for a National League wild card play-off spot.
"I think that's what separates the good teams from the average teams - the ability to come through under pressure, the ability to come through in the clutch," Baker said. "That's why teams go to the playoffs and teams win the World Series. You come to the end of the year, and every game has at-bats like that. You have to be able to relax." The loss knocked the Cubs out of first place in the NL Central Division, just one day after they had seized it from the St Louis Cardinals.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, regained the divisional lead with a 4-3 win over Houston. Brendan Donnelly (1-0), who has pitched 10 scoreless innings since joining the Marlins, retired two batters in the eighth for his first NL victory. Leo Nunez tossed a hitless ninth inning for his ninth save as Florida's bullpen continued to keep the Marlins in games. "I have all the confidence in the world in those guys," the Florida manager, Fredi Gonzalez, said of his relievers.
"You keep putting them in situations, and they keep coming through." Chicago's Carlos Marmol (2-2) entered the game in the eighth inning and walked the first two batters he faced. Two outs later Baker's single scored Dan Uggla from second base and Helms followed with his two-run double. "He has walked a lot of people this year," the Cubs' manager, Lou Piniella, said of Marmol, who has walked 46 batters in 50 innings. "Because he's so talented, he has gotten out of it, but sooner or later it's going to bite you."
Jeremy Hermida had two hits and scored twice for the Marlins, while Jorge Cantu hit a solo homer. In the American League, Carlos Quentin homered and had a go-ahead RBI double as the Chicago White Sox made it back-to-back wins over the East Division-leading New York Yankees with a 10-5 victory. Chicago broke a 5-5 tie in the fifth on Quentin's RBI double. The White Sox added four with two outs in the seventh as Chris Getz hit a two-run bases-loaded single, Jayson Nix stole home on a double steal and Scott Podsednik added an RBI single.
Pitcher Tony Pena got his first victory for the White Sox with two innings of scoreless relief. * Reuters