4/17 Marlins 5, Cubs 2
The Cubs learned a few things about Marlins Park. One, it’s loud. Two, no matter how flashy the ballpark, you still have to make the plays. Hanley Ramirez belted a three-run homer in the eighth inning off Rafael Dolis to lift the Marlins to victory Tuesday night over the Cubs. With the game tied at 2 in the eighth, Jose Reyes was safe on a fielding error by second baseman Darwin Barney and advanced on a passed ball by rookie Steve Clevenger. Dolis then walked Emilio Bonifacio and fell behind 3-1 to Ramirez, who launched the next pitch over the left-field wall. Barney blamed himself, not Dolis.
“It was just a misread,” Barney said. “I walked right into an inbetween hop. You’ve got Jose Reyes batting, and my mind was if something’s chopped, you have to go. The field plays really quick and I walked right into a bad read and that’s not the thing you want to do for a guy like Dolis. There’s really no excuses. You sit there and catch it in your belly and throw him out.”
The momentum definitely seemed to shift to the Marlins.
“When a team leads off an inning with an error, it doesn’t just get somebody up, it gets everybody up,” Barney said. “You feel like things are going to go your way. It’s not a good way to start that inning. It didn’t take a bad hop, it didn’t do anything. I walked right into it. It’s my fault.”
* Ryan Dempster also made a throwing error that led to two unearned runs in the Marlins fifth. He was pulled after 100 pitches over six innings.
“That’s about as good as you’ll ever see him throw a baseball,” Dale Sveum said of Dempster, who struck out eight. “He probably made two mistakes the whole game, pitch-wise. His cutter was almost as hard as his fastball and his split finger was ridiculous. That was as good as you’re going to pitch.”
It’s been a much better April for Dempster, although he has yet to win a game. The right-hander is now winless in his last 12 starts dating back to Aug. 16. The Cubs have scored three or fewer runs in 11 of those games. A year ago, he compiled a 9.58 ERA in April.
“I don’t look at the past or future, I just focus on each start and go out there and make as many quality pitches as possible,” Dempster said.
* Tuesday’s crowd was 24,544, which seemed small for a new ballpark.
“That’s about 20,000 more than they used to get and I think that’s what they’re looking for,” Dempster said. “I’m happy for the Marlin fans to have a nice ballpark to come to and for the players to come over now, I know what it was like to play in front of nobody. On a Tuesday night, to get that many people out here, if they do well, I’m sure they’ll get more.”
* Asked if he thought at all about Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, Dempster said only twice.
“Just when he was yelling at me when I was trying to hit,” Dempster said.
* The Cubs didn’t help themselves, as they grounded into four double plays. Said Sveum: “The bottom line is we have to score runs. “We’ve got to get more offense to take some pressure off our starting pitchers, too.”
* Starlin Castro stole his seventh base of the season. He is one of 14 Cubs to have at least six steals in April since 1921.
* On Wednesday, Matt Garza will face former White Sox star Mark Buehrle at Marlins Park. Game time is 6:10 p.m. CT.
– Carrie Muskat