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Cubs bullpen struggles in 4-3 loss to Marlins

Cubs 5-game win streak ends as bullpen struggles in 4-3 loss to Marlins

Posted on June 8, 2014 at 9:17 p.m.

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs were feeling hopeful even after their five-game winning streak ended Sunday.

“(We) just forget about this one and bounce back tomorrow because we cannot be perfect,” reliever Pedro Strop said. “We gave our best and it didn’t work, but (we) just bounce back tomorrow.”

Strop and Brian Schlitter would rather forget this loss, for sure. They allowed two runs each in the Cubs’ 4-3 defeat to the Miami Marlins.

They Cubs had won five straight for the first time since May last season, and their bullpen had a 2.01 ERA in its last 24 games.

“These guys should keep their heads up,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “They’re very disappointed right now because we felt like we were on the cusp to have a perfect homestand.”

The Cubs fell short of their first six-game winning streak since winning seven straight from July 31-Aug. 6, 2011.

Strop hit Giancarlo Stanton with a pitch in the eighth inning then threw a wild pitch that allowed the Miami slugger to score the go-ahead run.

Trailing 3-2 after Luis Valbuena walked with the bases loaded in the seventh, the Marlins scored twice off Strop (0-3) in the eighth.

Garrett Jones’ sacrifice fly to left tied it. Then Stanton scored on a wild pitch to give Miami its first lead of the day.

“It’s done really, really well,” Renteria said about his bullpen. “Today was a hiccup.”

Cubs closer Hector Rondon and setup man Neil Ramirez were unavailable to pitch.

Steve Cishek pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save in 15 tries, helping Miami avoid the sweep. Mike Dunn (5-3) got two outs for the win.

But Miami’s victory was overshadowed by the loss of starter Henderson Alvarez, who left the game in the sixth inning because of a left hip injury. He said he felt good after the game. Alvarez entered the day

having thrown 21 consecutive scoreless innings.

“He seems to be OK,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “He’s got enough time in between starts. He should be fine. Obviously, we’ll know better tomorrow or the next couple of days.”

With one out in the sixth inning of a scoreless tie, Valbuena grounded to Jones at first. Jones’ toss to first was high. Alvarez reached to tap the base with his right foot but missed and landed awkwardly,

straining his left hip.

After being attended to by the Miami training staff and Redmond, Alvarez threw one warmup pitch to see if he could continue but quickly left the mound. Left-hander Dan Jennings then entered.

Alvarez extended his scoreless innings streak to 26 before leaving, but it ended when Nate Schierholtz tripled down the right field line against Jennings to drive in two and give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

Alvarez is day to day for a Miami team that has already lost star right-hander Jose Fernandez for the season after he underwent Tommy John surgery.

Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, meanwhile, allowed three hits and struck out seven to match a personal season best.

“The energy is at a pretty high level right now,” Arrieta said. “It’s kind of a contagious thing. Once we get rolling, get a few (wins) in a row, it kind of breeds confidence with everybody in that clubhouse.”

He left with a 2-0 lead but Miami tied it with two in the seventh against Schlitter, getting consecutive two-out RBI singles from J.T. Realmuto and Adeiny Hechavarria.

That rally got Alvarez off the hook for what would’ve been a tough-luck loss.

Before getting hurt, the right-hander kept the Cubs in check for most of the day. He went 5 1-3 innings and allowed two runs — one earned — while striking out five.

Alvarez narrowly missed extending his streak past Luis Aquino’s 26 1-3 scoreless in 1994, the second-longest run in Marlins history.

“It certainly didn’t hurt us,” Renteria said about Alvarez’s exit. “We had some good at-bats against Alvarez. We had some good at-bats after he came out and we were able to score some runs. The guys ground out the game and we just fell a little short.”

NOTES: Renteria said “I don’t know how much further” replay review will expand but seemed satisfied with its debut. “So far right now, I’ve got no complaints about it,” Renteria said. ... Renteria was asked if he’s gotten any positive feedback from the fans during the Cubs’ winning streak and said “everybody’s pretty happy, which is nice.” .As part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, both teams wore throwback uniforms. The Cubs wore their 1942 uniforms, while the Marlins dressed up as the 1946 Miami Sun Sox.


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