Hendricks strong, but Chicago Cubs fall in 17 innings
MIAMI -- It was this kind of Friday night -- and Saturday morning -- at Marlins Park:
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks earned a quality start with 6 innings of 4-hit, 1-run ball against the Miami Marlins.
Relief pitcher Eddie Butler did him one better. Coming on with two outs in the 10th inning, Butler wound up pitching 7 innings of 4-hit, 1-run ball, throwing 90 pitches.
Given the inherent cruelty of baseball Butler wound up saddled with the loss as the Marlins defeated the Cubs 2-1 in 17 innings. Miguel Rojas hit a two-out RBI single against new Cubs closer Brandon Morrow to end the game.
The Cubs' record dropped to 1-1 on the season, and they'll have some potential bullpen problems for Saturday night's game against the Marlins.
But it was all praise for Butler despite the loss.
"That was such a huge effort, especially this early in the year," Hendricks said. "Starters aren't going that deep. What he did coming out of that bullpen tonight was awesome to watch."
Manager Joe Maddon echoed those sentiments.
"That was pretty amazing, man, because he was stretched out to maybe 70 pitches," he said. "So I thought 90 was going to be it. He got us through that point, and Morrow had warmed up so much that if we could just get one out out of him, I was going to pinch hit for him the next inning. Give Eddie a lot of credit for prolonging that game."
Butler was questionable to make the team out of spring training after working part time as a spot starter for the Cubs last year. But he is out of minor-league options, and the Cubs did not want to risk losing him to another team.
In any case, he knew he was in it for the long haul Friday after Mike Montgomery, Carl Edwards Jr. and Justin Wilson already had worked in relief.
"I knew it from the get-go," Butler said. "I knew it was my game until we took the lead and hand it over to (Morrow), and he was going to take care of business. They came to me after every inning and asked, 'How are you feeling?' I was like, 'Hey, I'm going to keep going. Just keep giving me the ball.' "
The Cubs got the game's first run in the third against Marlins starter Caleb Smith, who was in spring training with the Cubs before being returned to the Yankees in a Rule 5 draft situation. Kris Bryant greeted Smith with a shot of a run to left field. It was Bryant's first homer of the year.
Former Cub Starlin Castro singled in a run off Hendricks in the third.
From there, Hendricks seemed to settle down somewhat, even though he did hit Garrett Cooper with a pitch to start the bottom of the fourth. Cooper had to leave the game with a bruised right wrist.
Cubs batters struck out 20 times, were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 15 runners on base.
The Marlins struck out 14 times and did not have an extra-base hit for the entire game, which lasted 5 hours, 18 minutes. Miami stranded 18 runners on base.