Marlins uphold perfect post-season series record with upset sweep of Cubs


Garrett Cooper homered against Yu Darvish in a two-run seventh, hard-throwing rookie Sixto Sanchez dominated for five innings and the Miami Marlins won their first playoff series in 17 years, beating the Chicago Cubs 2-0 Friday to complete a two-game wild card series sweep.

Miami will face Atlanta in the NL Division Series in Houston starting Tuesday.

Led by manager Don Mattingly and CEO Derek Jeter, the Marlins remained unbeaten in all seven post-season series they have played following triumphs in the 1997 and 2003 NL Championship and World Series.

And this time, in empty Wrigley Field, they didn’t need a hand from a fan. In Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, fan Steve Bartman deflected Luis Castillo’s foul ball as Cubs left fielder Moises Alou tried to make a leaping catch, which led to an eight-run, eighth-inning rally.

Miami lost 105 games in 2019 and became the first team to reach the playoffs after a 100-loss season. The Marlins finished second in the NL East at 31-29 being beset by a virus outbreak early this season that forced 18 players from the field following the opening series and prevented them from playing for more than a week.

Miami had T-shirts with “Bottom Feeders” in its dugout Friday, a reference to a remark by Ricky Bottalico, a former Phillies pitcher and current NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst, after the Marlins’ opening-day win in Philadelphia.

“We’re here and the Phillies are at home, so I think the `bottom feeders’ is a good mantra to live on,” Cooper said.

Chicago, the NL Central champion, went 3 for 27 (.111) with runners on base in the series. Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo combined to go 0 for 12 Friday and finished the series 1 for 24. The trio is 19 for 142 (.134) with 52 strikeouts and six walks in the post-season since the 2016 World Series title as Chicago has lost nine of 13.

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