Marlins beat Cubs 4-3 after losing Alvarez
CHICAGO — Henderson Alvarez’s scoreless streak came to an end, and the Miami Marlins didn’t care one bit. They were just happy to hear the talented right-hander should be able to make his next start after a scary play at first base.
Alvarez injured his left hip in the sixth, but Miami made the most of a wild afternoon for Pedro Strop in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday that averted a three-game series sweep.
The Marlins trailed 3-2 before they pushed across two runs in the eighth. They loaded the bases with one out on a walk, a hit by pitch and a single from Casey McGehee. Christian Yelich then scored on Garrett Jones’ sacrifice fly and Giancarlo Stanton came home on a wild pitch from Strop (0-3).
Steve Cishek then struck out two in a scoreless ninth that gave him 14 saves in 15 tries.
The Cubs got six scoreless innings from Jake Arrieta, but came up just short in a bid for their first six-game winning streak since a seven-game run in 2011.
“I think 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 of being able to have a perfect homestand.”
Mike Dunn (5-3) got two outs for the win, but that was secondary for Miami after Alvarez went down. He began the day with a streak of 21 scoreless innings and is regarded as the Marlins’ best pitcher after Jose Fernandez was shelved by a season-ending elbow surgery.
With one out in the sixth inning of a scoreless tie, Luis Valbuena grounded to Jones at first. Alvarez hustled over to cover the bag, but Jones’ toss was high. The pitcher reached to tap the base with his right foot but missed and landed awkwardly, straining his left hip.
“He seems to be OK,” 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.”
After Miami’s training staff and Redmond came out to see him, Alvarez threw one warm-up pitch to see if he could continue but quickly left the mound. He was charged with two runs, one earned, and seven hits.
“At first I felt like I fell (and) I banged myself on ground. I just continued on, I got up, I felt I could continue to pitch,” Alvarez said through a translator. “I went out there, I did what I could to pitch. At the end of the day it was a decision by the manager.”
Nate Schierholtz then greeted Dan Jennings with a two-run triple down the right-field line that gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
Alvarez is considered day to day, a relief for the surprising Marlins (33-30).
“I feel good,” he said. “Thank God.”
Jones, who was charged with an error on the play, also was relieved that Alvarez was OK. He said he needed a couple pitches during his seventh-inning at-bat to refocus.
“You never want to be the guy to make the mistake to lose a game,” Jones said. “But that play, he’s been our best pitcher, and to lose him on a play like that, it stinks.”
Luckily for Miami, it probably won’t be without Alvarez for long.
“We can’t afford any injuries — especially to those pitchers. We’ve already had that happen and we can’t afford anybody else to get hurt,” Redmond said. “Definitely concerned (when Alvarez left) but it looks like he’s going to be fine so hopefully we got lucky there.”
*Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles