CHICAGO – Jack McKeon was reminiscing about 2003 when he spoke with reporters before Thursday’s game at Wrigley Field, talking about how sweet it was that year when the Marlins came back to beat the Cubs in the National League Championship Series before going on to win the World Series.
“I’d like to do it again here,” McKeon said.
For one game, at least, the Marlins did just that. Once again, the Marlins pulled off a stunning comeback victory in front of more than 38,000 disbelieving fans at the historic old ballpark.
Trailing 2-0 heading into the ninth, the Marlins rallied for an improbable 6-3 victory. Cubs closer Carlos Marmol walked the bases loaded to start the ninth before giving up a three-run double to pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs that brought boos from the angry and dejected crowd.
“We like to play here,” McKeon said afterward. “That’s our thing.”
With the victory, the Marlins picked up right where they left off heading into the All-Star break, extending their winning streak to six. It is their longest winning streak since they won seven in a row in April 2009.
“It’s huge,” Dobbs said of Thursday’s win. “It keeps us moving in the right direction.”
The wild ninth inning, one in which the Marlins sent 11 men to the plate, removed the sting from watching two of their long fly balls defused into warning-track outs.
The Cubs made it 2-0 in the eighth inning when reliever Steve Cishek plunked Darwin Barney with a pitch with the bases loaded. It was Cishek who, while in the process of intentionally walking a batter last month, gave up the winning run on a wild pitch.
Other than the home run to Marlon Byrd, who has hit three of his four home runs this season against the Marlins, Sanchez did little else wrong, yet came out with no decision. Sanchez has failed to emerge with a win in any of his past six outings. But he was given no offensive support as the Marlins entered the ninth inning down 2-0.
But then entered Marmol, who was landing his pitches nowhere close to the strike zone. He walked Mike Stanton to start the inning, then Mike Cameron, to bring John Buck to the plate.
Buck was ordered to bunt, but Marmol never gave him a pitch worth hitting and ended up walking him, as well, to load the bases.
“That’s Marmol for you,” Cameron said. “He can dot you with three (strikes), or he can throw it all over the place.”
Twelve of Marmol’s first 13 pitches were balls as the Marlins loaded the bases for Dobbs, who struck a 2-2 pitch into the right-field corner to clear the bases. DeWayne Wise, the trailing runner, slipped and fell between third and home.
But the throw in got away from everyone, and Wise ended up scoring.
Dobbs, who played for the Seattle Mariners from 2004-06, is now 6-for-15 with eight RBI this season as a pinch hitter.
The Cubs came up with a run in the ninth off Leo Nunez but were unable to overcome the deficit.