MIAMI (AP) — There are only 158 games to go, and the Miami Marlins know that absolutely nothing is expected of them this season.
The doubters might be helping.
Dillon Peters threw six sharp innings, Brian Anderson hit a three-run double to highlight a five-run fifth and the Marlins beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 on Sunday to split their opening four-game series against a team that could very easily be a championship contender.
“We did a nice job this series,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s early, we’re excited, and that’s going to have to continue. But that’s what we want to build.”
Chad Wallach — who started the season 0 for 11 — had two hits for the Marlins, who were hitless in their first four innings before getting the offense going. Peters (1-0) helped out a well-worked bullpen in a big way, allowing six hits, striking out two and walking only one as the Marlins shut out the Cubs for only the second time in the teams’ last 72 meetings.
“We’re here to win, every game,” Wallach said. “You hear all the jibber-jabber going on that everybody’s saying, but we’re here to win every game, compete and play within the team. So we don’t let that get to us.”
The crowd was 10,428, the smallest in Marlins Park history by 209 patrons. The Marlins now announce attendance based only on tickets sold, a change from the previous ownership regime.
Wallach’s RBI single — the first run driven in of his career — got the Marlins on the board in the fifth, and they were off and running. Derek Dietrich’s single under the glove of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo drove home Wallach to make it 2-0, and Anderson’s two-out line drive to right off Cubs starter Jose Quintana (0-1) cleared the bases.
Quintana gave up six hits and six runs in six innings. The last of the runs charged to him scored when he uncorked a wild pitch in the sixth.
“The game changed in just one inning,” Quintana said. “It’s a little frustrating.”
Kyle Schwarber had a pair of hits for the Cubs, who stranded 10 runners on Sunday and 42 runners for the series — a lot even when considering one of the four games in Miami was a 17-inning affair on Friday night.
“Quite frankly, we could not have hit the ball better than we did,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s the most incredible shutout that I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Brian Duensing worked the final two innings in relief of Quintana, capping a series in which Cubs relievers worked 24 innings and allowed only two runs.
Marlins 1B Garrett Cooper, who got hit on the hand in Friday’s game and had Saturday off to deal with the bruise, was pulled after two at-bats. Mattingly said the team probably brought Cooper back a day early, but stressed there’s nothing structurally wrong.
Marlins 2B Starlin Castro had another hit, the 1,285th of his career. If he gets 10 more before May 7, he’ll pass Marlins CEO Derek Jeter for the fifth most in MLB history by a player before his 28th birthday.
Cubs RF Jason Heyward dove into first to beat out an infield grounder in the fourth, getting there when Cooper chose to keep the ball himself and not flip it to Peters covering the bag. That gave the Cubs runners on first and third with one out, but Cooper more than atoned on the next pitch — charging hard to field a bunt by Javier Baez and throwing home to start a 3-2-5 retiring of Schwarber and keeping the game scoreless.
Sunday was the 2,000th game in Maddon’s managerial career — although it’s only the 1,999th that counted. The Cubs and Pittsburgh played to a 1-1 tie in 2016, a late-September game stopped by rain because it was would have no impact on the standings. Of the previous 33 managers with 2,000 games and at least one World Series title, 21 already have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Cubs: RHP Tyler Chatwood gets the start in Cincinnati on Monday against Reds RHP Tyler Mahle.
Marlins: RHP Trevor Richards will be called up to make his big-league debut Monday against the Boston Red Sox, who’ll start LHP Brian Johnson.