The Chicago Cubs had their fair share of offensive struggles down the stretch in the regular season, and those have carried into the playoffs as well as they lost to the Miami Marlins 5-1 in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series on Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Corey Dickerson and Jesus Aguilar hit home runs in a five-run seventh inning for the Marlins, and that was all the offense they needed as the Cubs struggle to get anything going offensively in the opening game of the best-of-three series.
Kyle Hendricks took the loss for the Cubs, surrendering the three-run Dickerson home run in the top of the seventh inning. Those were the only three runs he gave up, but with the Cubs’ offense struggling behind him, he was saddled with the defeat for Chicago in the game.
Ian Happ hit an opposite field home run in the fifth inning of the game for the Cubs, but that wasn’t enough offense for a team not staring at an elimination game on Thursday afternoon.
Neither team really had much offensive push going in the first three innings of the game, but the Marlins started showing some life in the fourth as they got an Aguilar double to lead off the frame. After advancing to third on a fielder’s choice, he was stranded after Garrett Cooper and Matt Joyce grounded out to end the frame with no damage.
The Marlins had another chance to score in the fifth, but again the Cubs’ hurler was able to prevent them from scoring, as Kris Bryant turned a double play at third base and retired the inning’s final hitter on another ground out, keeping the game scoreless.
Happ finally got Chicago on the board in the fifth inning as he looped an opposite field solo home run into the first row of the left field bleachers, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, that’s all the offense they could muster against Sandy Alcantara, and they were made to pay for those failures in the seventh. After two runners reached base, Dickerson hit a home run out to left field, chasing Hendricks from the game and giving the Marlins a 3-1 lead.
After Jeremy Jeffress came into the game, he immediately got torched as well, with Aguilar hitting a two-run opposite field home run into the basket in right field to push the Marlins ahead by four runs.
The Cubs’ offense continued struggling in the seventh and eighth innings. They squandered a Jason Kipnis walk in the seventh when Happ grounded into a fielder’s choice, then they went down in order in the eighth, with both Bryant and Cameron Maybin striking out to end the inning with a whimper.
The Cubs did manage to get Willson Contreras on base to start the ninth inning, but they couldn't do anything with it, as Jason Heyward popped out and Javier Baez struck out looking for the first two outs.
Victor Caratini then flew out to center, sending the Cubs down in defeat.
The Cubs will try to avoid elimination on Thursday when they take on the Marlins in Game 2 at Wrigley Field. Yu Darvish will take the ball for the Cubs in the game, which will start at 1:08 p.m.