CHICAGO — All of the optimism on a beautiful afternoon at the Friendly Confines could be found with two young Cubs’ player.
Their quickly blossoming starting pitcher continued his strong start to 2023 while their first baseman had a moment in his first major league game. Both were able to get the Cubs off to a strong start to a homestand that followed a bad week on the road.
Justin Steele’s pitching and an insurance RBI by Matt Mervis helped give the home team a 4-1 win over the Marlins on Friday afternoon. It snapped a two-game losing streak to start a six-game stretch at Wrigley Field as the Cubs evened their record at 16-16.
This came after a 1-6 road trip against Miami and Washington on the road.
Steele’s seventh outing of the year was quality again as the pitcher allowed just one earned run on six hits through seven innings. He struck out four batters without a walk in 86 pitches to improve his record to 4-0 on the season.
It marks the 14th consecutive game that Steele has allowed two or fewer earned runs in a start, which is the longest since Jake Arrieta had the same amount from July 30, 2015 to April 4, 2016.
Mervis, who was called up to the club officially on Friday morning and got the start at catcher, gave the club some insurance in the eighth inning with his first major league hit. The single to center off Tanner Scott brought home Cody Bellinger to give the Cubs a little breathing room heading into the ninth.
Mark Leiter Jr. would close it out in the ninth for his first save of the 2023 season.
Seiya Suzuki gave the Cubs the early lead with a first inning single that plated Nico Hoerner to make it 1-0. Ian Happ would provide the winning runs in the fifth with his fourth homer of the year – a two-run, 423-foot shot to right-center field.
But today belonged to a pair of Cubs’ young players, who provided all the entertainment on a beautiful day at Wrigley Field.