MIAMI (AP) — A modest scoreless streak from Jose Quintana has helped the Chicago Cubs to their best stretch of the young season.
Quintana gave up six hits in seven innings to lead the Cubs to a 4-0 victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.
Quintana (2-1) struck out seven and extended his scoreless innings streak to 14. The left-hander didn’t allow a runner to reach second until Austin Dean’s two-out double in the seventh.
“I’m very happy with this outing and how I am throwing lately,” Quintana said. “I feel great with my stuff. I just try to stay focused, one pitch at a time, one out at a time.”
Javier Baez went 3 for 4 and hit his fifth homer, a solo shot to the opposite field off Adam Conley in the eighth. Baez has three hits in each of his last three games and is the third Cubs shortstop in the last 60 years with the feat, joining Larry Bowa and Starlin Castro.
“I’m seeing the ball really good right now,” Baez said. “This is the hottest that I’ve been this year. I’m just trying to focus on keeping it that way and swinging at pitches in the zone.”
Brandon Kintzler relieved Quintana and surrendered a two-out single to Brian Anderson and walked Castro. Jorge Alfaro drove Kintzler’s 1-1 fastball to the warning track in center before Albert Almora tracked it down for the third out.
Chicago scored its fourth run on Ben Zobrist’s sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Pedro Strop pitched a scoreless ninth for the Cubs, who have won five of six.
“Everybody’s got to do their jobs, especially for us to get back to the promise land and win that last game of the year,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon said.
“(Quintana) was on top of his game. He had great command of everything. Great carry on his pitches but the curveball was as good as we’ve seen. He’s pitching with everything he’s got with a lot of confidence and there is no reason why he can’t continue that way.”
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead on Daniel Descalso’s single in the third and pushed across another run in the fourth on David Bote’s RBI groundout.
Descalso singled and walked twice and Bote had two hits and scored twice.
Miami starter Pablo Lopez (1-3) allowed two runs, five hits, struck out six and walked one in five innings. Lopez has not pitched six complete innings in his four starts.
“I felt good physically,” Lopez said. “I did a better job with it. I still fell behind some guys and when I came back into the zone I got hit around a little bit, but I feel the sequencing was a little better, the intent and aggressiveness behind the pitch was a little better as well.”
Before the game, the Marlins optioned shortstop JT Riddle to Triple-A New Orleans and recalled outfielder Isaac Galloway. Galloway started in right field and went 1 for 4. He also threw out Descalso at third as he attempted to advance from second on a flyout in the fifth.
“You felt like the throw out at third is one of those plays that can change a game from the standpoint of if you can get out of that inning and you’re basically in the heart of their order and then (Galloway) leads off the next inning with a hit and you’re hoping OK this game has got a chance to change right there and we just weren’t able to do it,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said.
In addition to Alfaro’s long flyout, Kris Bryant was betrayed by the outfield’s dimensions. Galloway tracked down Bryant’s drive to deep right center in the seventh. However, the distance failed to hold Baez’s shot that gave the Cubs a cushion to their 2-0 lead. “I think that was one of my best swings that I’ve had in all my career,” Baez said. “I hit it perfectly.”
Mattingly voiced concern over his team’s defense prior to Tuesday’s game. His players responded with Galloway’s throw and catch of Bryant’s shot. Lewis Brinson also threw out Baez at second as he attempted to extend a single into a double in the sixth. Baez originally was ruled safe before a video overturned the call.
Cubs: Maddon said there is no date set for LHP Jon Lester (left hamstring strain) to resume throwing while he continues non-baseball rehabilitation. LHP Mike Montgomery (left lat) postponed his rehabilitation stint Tuesday at Single A South Bend after his wife gave birth to the couple’s first child.
Marlins: RHP Austin Brice (gastroenteritis) was placed on the 10-day injured list. LHP Jarlin Garcia was recalled from Triple A New Orleans to take Brice’s spot on the roster.
Cubs LHP Cole Hamels (2-0, 3.79) is scheduled to start the series finale Wednesday against RHP Sandy Alcantara (1-1, 4.24).