CHICAGO (AP) - The Florida Marlins knocked out Carlos Marmol again and were threatening to steal another win from the Chicago Cubs. This time, the rally came up short, and their season-high six-game losing streak came to an end.
Ryan Dempster pitched four-hit ball over eight scoreless innings for Chicago, and the Marlins wasted a terrific effort by Ricky Nolasco in a 2-1 loss to the Cubs on Friday after making things interesting in the ninth inning.
``That was a tough one, really,' interim manager Jack McKeon said.
Dempster (7-6) struck out nine without a walk in arguably his best outing of the season as the Cubs won for the third time in nine games, but the Marlins had their chance thanks to another near-meltdown by Marmol in the ninth.
He came in to boos on the heels of a miserable performance Thursday in which he walked four of the five batters he faced and failed to record an out. The Marlins scored six in the ninth to win that one 6-3 and they nearly pulled off another comeback Friday.
Marmol's latest troubles began when he walked Omar Infante on four pitches to start the inning.
He caught a break with one out when center fielder Marlon Byrd threw out Hanley Ramirez, who was trying to stretch a single into a double.
``The guy made a helluva throw,' McKeon said. ``It was a bang-bang throw. That's a tough decision. I might have done the same thing.'
Quade would have lifted Marmol then had Ramirez not been thrown out. Instead, he watched as Logan Morrison lined an RBI single to right, cutting Florida's deficit to 2-1.
Sean Marshall relieved Marmol and struck out Mike Stanton to end the game, giving him two saves in four chances.
The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning when Infante misplayed Alfonso Soriano's pop fly to shallow, allowing Carlos Pena and Byrd to score.
That was just enough for Dempster and the Cubs, and Nolasco (6-6) took a tough loss.
Nolasco allowed two unearned runs and seven hits, and struck out seven and walked one in seven innings. It was another strong performance following his complete-game win over Houston on Saturday. He also doubled off the wall with two outs in the third, but the Marlins couldn't do much against Dempster.
Nolasco ran into trouble in the fourth when Pena singled with one out and Byrd doubled, but he struck out Geovany Soto and should have gotten out of the inning when Soriano popped up.
Infante raced out toward right field, and slowed as Stanton came in. The ball appeared to tip Infante's glove and fell in for an error, allowing both runners to score.
``It was just unfortunate,' Nolasco said. ``It's not going to happen very often, especially Omar, how good he is. It's just one of those things that you can't put any blame on it.'
McKeon said his outfielder should have made that catch.
``Hell, the right fielder has got to come in,' McKeon said. ``He's standing alongside of him. He's got to take charge.'
He'll get no argument from Stanton,
``The end of the day it wasn't caught, period,' Stanton said. ``It's my ball and it wasn't caught.'
Notes: The Cubs agreed to a minor league deal with veteran pitcher Dave Bush. ... Cubs first base coach Bob Dernier missed the game to attend his son's wedding in Kansas City. He is expected back on Sunday. Dave Keller, special assistant to Quade, filled in. ... Florida's Emilio Bonifacio extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single in the sixth.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved