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Conine's bat, Vargas' arm lead Marlins to Wrigley win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

CHICAGO -- The top of the Florida Marlins' order was too much for the Chicago Cubs.

Leadoff hitter Juan Pierre reached base three times, stole two bases and scored three runs, and No. 2 hitter Jeff Conine had three hits, two RBI and scored three runs, helping the Marlins build a seven-run lead on the way to a 7-5 victory on Friday.

The loss was the Cubs' fifth in six games. Prior to the game, they placed Aramis Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left quad.

"When you have guys ahead of you who get on base, I don't care what spot you're hitting in, you want to take advantage of that and drive them in," Conine said. "Juan Pierre was on base ahead of me. (Jason) Vargas was on base ahead of me. I had some opportunities."

Pierre was 1-for 3, and also reached base after being hit by a pitch and on a throwing error by Chicago's Nomar Garciaparra, who played third base for the first time since high school.

Conine was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk.

"They did a good job, both Pierre and Conine, of getting on base and setting things up for the rest of the guys," Florida manager Jack McKeon said. "Pierre's a big factor is helping us score. (Conine) is a good RBI guy, he showed that today."

Vargas (5-1), Florida's rookie left-handed starter, pitched five scoreless innings before the Cubs rallied with five runs in the sixth to cut into a 7-0 lead.

Vargas, making his sixth career start and 10th appearance, allowed nine hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked three, and had two singles in three at-bats.

"I wasn't tired, I just wasn't fooling anybody," Vargas said. "I don't think my pitches were that bad. They were just hitting pitches that they were missing earlier in the game."

The Marlins received scoreless relief from Randy Messenger and Antonio Alfonseca, and Todd Jones recorded the final four outs for his 30th save, including 20 consecutive successful opportunities.

Florida's Miguel Cabrera added two hits, including a double, a two RBI.

Filling in for Ramirez, Garciaparra, out of the lineup since Sunday with a sore back, made a throwing error on his first of two chances, firing wide of first after cleanly fielding Pierre's bunt in the third.

"That comes with learning the position," Garciaparra said. " I probably should have just hung onto the ball and gone from there.

"It was definitely a learning experience and we'll see it they keep me out there."

Jerry Hairston's double with the bases loaded drove in three runs and was the key hit in the sixth as the Cubs batted around. Jeromy Burnitz and Matt Lawton drove in runs with singles in the inning.

Chicago starter Glendon Rusch (5-7) lost his fifth decision in a row. He lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits.

Rusch, who has been in and out of the Cubs' rotation, hasn't won since June 2 at San Diego.

"In all of the three starts since I've come back in the rotation, I've had trouble in the first," Rusch said. "I have no explanation. I'm not making good pitches."

Florida took a 2-0 lead in the first on Conine's RBI double and Carlos Delgado's sacrifice fly.

The Marlins stretched their lead to 4-0 in the third.

After Vargas led off with an infield single, Pierre tested Garciaparra with a bunt.

Garciaparra fielded the ball cleanly and looked to second to try to force Vargas, but no one was covering. Garciaparra's throw to first was wide, allowing Pierre to reach base and Vargas to advance to third.

"That was a play you never see: a slug bunt," Baker said. "When Nomar went to second, no one was there. When he went to first D. (Derrek) Lee was trying to retreat to first and Neifi (Perez) was trying to get second base and he kind of threw in between them."

Conine drove in Vargas with a single and Pierre eventually scored on Cabrera's double-play grounder.

Juan Encarnacion drove in Conine from third with a bloop single in the fifth to make it 5-0.

Cabrera drove in two runs with a double off Michael Wuertz in the sixth.

Notes

  • The Cubs had three natural shortstops in their lineup on Wednesday. Garciaparra was at third, Perez was at second and Ronny Cedeno, who was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to fill Ramirez's roster spot, was at shortstop.
  • Garciaparra went 0-for-4.
  • Cubs C Michael Barrett hit in the clean-up spot, backing-up NL batting leader Lee in the third slot.
  • Florida INF Luis Castillo missed his second consecutive game and eight in his last 10 due to a sore left quad muscle. Damion Easley started in his place at second.
  • Pierre stole a base for the second straight game after going 10 without a steal. He's second in the NL with 44 steals.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Carlos Delgado gives props to Jeff Conine, who scores one of his three runs, while ripping three hits.  (AP)
Carlos Delgado gives props to Jeff Conine, who scores one of his three runs, while ripping three hits. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

J. Hairston
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
Florida

J. Conine
AB 4
R 3
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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Florida Marlins
Juan Pierre, CF3310011 .265
Jeff Conine, LF4332100 .308
Miguel Cabrera, 3B5022001 .334
Carlos Delgado, 1B4011012 .294
Juan Encarnacion, RF3011100 .298
Damion Easley, 2B3000112 .228
Alex Gonzalez, SS4000002 .266
Matt Treanor, C4000030 .219
    Paul Lo Duca, C0000000 .303
Jason Vargas, P3120000 .333
    Randy Messenger, P0000000 .500
   a- Lenny Harris, PH0000000 .291
   b- Chris Aguila, PH1000010 .213
    Antonio Alfonseca, P0000000 .000
    Todd Jones, P0000000 .500
Totals347106378 
a-announced for Messenger in the 8th
b-struck out for Harris in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jeff Conine (14, Rusch), Miguel Cabrera (36, Wuertz), Carlos Delgado (31, Rusch)
SF - Carlos Delgado (5)
SH - Juan Pierre (7)
RBI - Jeff Conine 2 (23), Miguel Cabrera 2 (90), Carlos Delgado (90), Juan Encarnacion (68)
2-OUT RBI - Miguel Cabrera 2 (31), Juan Encarnacion (32)
SB - Juan Pierre 2 (44, 2nd base off Rusch/Barrett, 2nd base off Wuertz/Barrett)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Cabrera-Easley-Delgado
Florida Marlins
Jason Vargas (W,5-1) 5.2955330 3.16
Randy Messenger (H,2) 1.1000110 5.03
Antonio Alfonseca (H,7) 0.2100100 2.41
Todd Jones (S,30) 1.1100010 1.09
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Vargas 95-58, Randy Messenger 23-9, Antonio Alfonseca 16-8, Todd Jones 15-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Vargas 3-11, Randy Messenger 1-2, Antonio Alfonseca 1-1, Todd Jones 2-0
Batters Faced - Jason Vargas 29, Randy Messenger 5, Antonio Alfonseca 4, Todd Jones 4
Chicago Cubs
Jerry Jr. Hairston, CF4123010 .264
Matt Lawton, LF3011210 .268
    Roberto Novoa, P0000000 .000
Derrek Lee, 1B4000123 .350
Michael Barrett, C5120003 .292
Nomar Garciaparra, 3B4000004 .238
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
    Jose Macias, LF1000001 .280
Jeromy Burnitz, RF3111201 .263
Neifi Perez, 2B-3B4130001 .277
Ronny Cedeno, SS4110003 .259
Glendon Rusch, P2010001 .138
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
   a- Todd Hollandsworth, PH1000013 .254
    Scott Williamson, P0000000 .000
    Todd Walker, 2B1000000 .302
Totals3651155520 
a-struck out for Wuertz in the 6th
Batting
2B - Jerry Jr. Hairston (20, Vargas), Michael Barrett (28, Vargas), Neifi Perez (25, Vargas), Glendon Rusch (2, Vargas)
SH - Jerry Jr. Hairston (7)
RBI - Jerry Jr. Hairston 3 (22), Matt Lawton (49), Jeromy Burnitz (66)
2-OUT RBI - Jerry Jr. Hairston 3 (9), Matt Lawton (24)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Perez-Lee, Perez-Cedeno-Lee
E - Nomar Garciaparra (7, Wild throw)
Chicago Cubs
Glendon Rusch (L,5-7) 4.2854220 4.35
Michael Wuertz 1.1222120 4.53
Scott Williamson 1.1000020 9.82
Will Ohman 0.2000010 2.41
Roberto Novoa 1000000 3.38
HBP - Pierre (by Glendon Rusch)
Pitches-Strikes - Glendon Rusch 89-54, Michael Wuertz 32-17, Scott Williamson 14-8, Will Ohman 4-4, Roberto Novoa 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Glendon Rusch 7-4
Batters Faced - Glendon Rusch 24, Michael Wuertz 7, Scott Williamson 4, Will Ohman 2, Roberto Novoa 3
Game Information
Attendance - 38544
Game Time - 2:53
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Jeff Kellogg, Second Base - Lazaro Diaz, Third Base - Dana DeMuth