The Miami Marlins celebrate their move to the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field. (Nam Y. Huh)
Chicago – Garrett Cooper homered off Yu Darvish in a two-run seventh inning, rookie Sixto Sanchez dominated for five innings and the Miami Marlins won their first playoff series in 17 years, beating Los Angeles 2-0 on Friday night. Chicago Cubs.
With a two-game wild-card series sweep completed, Miami will face Atlanta in the National League Division Series in Houston starting Tuesday.
Led by manager Don Mattingly and CEO Derek Jeter, the Marlins remain undefeated in the seven postseason series they have played following victories in the 1997 and 2003 National League Championship Series and World Series.
And this time, at empty Wrigley Field, they didn't need the hand of a fanatic.
In Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, fan Steve Bartman deflected Luis Castillo's foul ball when Cubs left fielder Moisés Alou tried to make a catch, leading to a eight-race rally in the eighth inning.
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 and suffered a virus outbreak earlier this season that forced 18 players to leave the field after the inaugural series and prevented them from playing for more than a week. .
Miami had “Bottom Feeders” jerseys on its bench on Friday, a reference to a comment by Ricky Bottalico, former Phillies pitcher and current NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst, after the Marlins' victory in Philadelphia on opening day.
“We're here and the Phillies are at home, so I think bottom feeders are a good mantra to live by,” Cooper said.
Chicago, the NL Central champion, went 27-3 (.111) with runners on base in the series.
Puerto Rican Javier Báez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo combined 12-0 on Friday and finished the series 24-1. The trio is 19 of 142 (.134) with 52 strikeouts and six walks in the postseason since the 2016 World Series title with Chicago. They have lost nine of 13.
Javier Báez falls into the batter's box in pain after hitting a foul ball to his calf in the ninth inning. (Nam Y. Huh)