Edward Cabrera strikes out 12 and the Miami Marlins hold on to beat Chicago Cubs

·4 min read

Things could have gone sideways quickly for Edward Cabrera on Saturday. The Miami Marlins’ right-handed pitcher had walked the bases loaded with no outs in the third inning. He wasn’t throwing strikes, and the Chicago Cubs were taking advantage.

Cabrera dug in at that point.

“I need to attack the zone,” Cabrera said. “It was as simple as that.”

He got Seiya Suzuki to strike out swinging on a full-count sinker and then got Cody Bellinger to strike out looking on a full-count sinker that clipped the bottom of the strike zone before, on his 30th pitch of the inning and 68th pitch of the game, got Trey Mancini to hit a groundball to third baseman Jean Segura for the inning-ending forceout.

No runs allowed ... and perhaps a needed confidence booster.

Cabrera ultimately retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced, striking out eight of those final 10, and had a career-high 12 strikeouts overall in five innings, and the Marlins held on despite some struggles from the bullpen for a 7-6 win over the Cubs at loanDepot park.

Miami (15-13) has now won three consecutive games and clinched the series against the Cubs (14-12) after winning the series opener 3-2 on Friday. The Marlins have won all six series they have played against opponents not named the New York Mets or Atlanta Braves. The other five series wins have been against the Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Guardians.

The Marlins also remain undefeated in one-run games (9-0) and for the first time this season won a game after giving up more than four runs.

Cabrera is only the second pitcher in Marlins history to strike out at least 12 batters while only pitching five innings. Jesus Luzardo also did it last year against the Los Angeles Angels (April 12, 2022).

Five of his strikeouts came with the curveball, four with the changeup, two (both in the third inning) against the sinker and one with the slider.

Cabrera threw 109 pitches, 64 of which landed for strikes. The only runs he allowed came on a Patrick Wisdom two-run home run in the second inning.

But those three walks in the third inning — and five overall — caused Cabrera’s night to end after just five innings. Through six starts, Cabrera has walked an MLB-high 25 batters while ranking tied for 20th with 36 strikeouts over 27 innings.

“It’s all mentality,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “There’s nothing mechanical. There’s nothing physical. It’s legit straight mental, and it’s him. You can see the demeanor on the mound when he’s feeling it. It’s just ‘Give me the ball and let’s go.’ When he’s not feeling it, you can see him walking around and thinking about it. As soon as he starts thinking about stuff, that’s when things kind of go out of whack.”

The offense provided what ended up being just enough support.

It started with a five-run first inning in which the Marlins sent 11 batters to the plate, with all of the runs being scored with two outs. After the Marlins loaded the bases on a Jazz Chisholm Jr. bunt single, Luis Arraez single to right and Yuli Gurriel hit-by-pitch, Jesus Sanchez hit a ground-rule double on a line-drive to left to score the first two runs.

The rest of the inning: Gurriel scores on a wild pitch, Jean Segura walks, Jacob Stallings hits an RBI single up the middle, Garrett Hampson walks and Chisholm is hit by a pitch with the bases loaded before Jorge Soler grounds out to end the inning.

It was the first time the Marlins scored at least five runs in the first inning since doing so against the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 28, 2021.

Miami tacked on more runs via a Chisholm RBI single in the third and Sanchez RBI single in the fourth.

Overall, Chisholm and Arraez both had three hits and safely reached base four times. Sanchez and Gurriel also had multi-hit games.

The bullpen gave up four runs, two each in the sixth and eighth innings after Andrew Nardi and Steven Okert loaded the bases respectively and forced manager Skip Schumaker to make a mid-inning change to minimize damage. Huascar Brazoban allowed just one inherited runner to score in the sixth after Nardi gave up a leadoff home run to Bellinger and then three consecutive singles. Matt Barnes allowed two in the eighth after Okert walked three of the four batters he faced and got just one out.

Tanner Scott pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season.