- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - Jose Fernandez had another hiccup and the Miami Marlins were unable to generate any offense against Cubs starting pitching for the second consecutive game.

Jason Hammel threw six scoreless innings, Dexter Fowler got three hits off Fernandez, and Chicago beat the Marlins 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Hammel (11-5) extended Chicago’s shutout streak to 24 innings before the Marlins scored twice against reliever Pedro Strop in the seventh. Aroldis Chapman hit 104.4 mph on the radar gun in a perfect ninth as the Cubs won for the sixth time in seven games.

Despite dropping its second straight, Miami remained a half-game ahead of St. Louis for the second NL wild card.

“Obviously, we didn’t do anything with (Hammel), but we were able to once they pinch-hit there and we had a shot,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We got a couple off Strop and just couldn’t get another.”

Hammel, who gave up four hits, threw 80 pitches before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.

“He kept us off balance and he did a great job,” said Christian Yelich, who had one of the hits off Hammel.

Fernandez (12-6) allowed three runs and eight hits over six innings, losing consecutive starts for the first time since April 2013 in his rookie season.

“I’m not a machine,” Fernandez said. “It happens. I don’t really care about my own results and numbers. I just care about us winning a ballgame and whatever it takes.

“This may sound funny, but I felt strong today. I was making good pitches. This is a good team and if you make a mistake here and there, they get you.”

Adeiny Hechavarria and J.T. Realmuto each hit an RBI single in the seventh off Strop, who also committed a throwing error. Chris Coghlan’s diving catch of Yelich’s looping liner to left field with two on ended the threat.

Chapman struck out one for his second save in three tries since being acquired from the Yankees.

Fowler led off the first with a triple and scored on catcher Willson Contreras’ single. Batting Contreras second worked for manager Joe Maddon, as Fowler and Contreras had consecutive hits again in the third to produce another run.

Fowler added an RBI single in the fifth off Fernandez, who fanned eight and took over the major league lead with 192 strikeouts.

“Dexter got the whole thing rolling - leadoff triple, the base hits,” Maddon said. “He was involved in almost everything tonight.”

Miguel Montero, batting for Hammel, struck out with two on to end the sixth. Travis Wood replaced the struggling Strop with runners at the corners and two outs in the seventh. Coghlan’s tumbling catch against Yelich brought the Wrigley Field crowd to its feet.

Former Cubs closer Hector Rondon picked off pinch-runner Dee Gordon at first in a scoreless eighth.

Chicago extended its NL Central lead to nine games over St. Louis.


Ichiro Suzuki struck out pinch-hitting for Fernandez in the seventh, leaving him at 2,998 hits. Suzuki is expected to start Wednesday’s series finale against RHP John Lackey. Suzuki’s 37 hits against Lackey are his most off any pitcher.


Marlins: 1B Justin Bour (ankle) went 0 for 3 with Triple-A New Orleans and was expected to play one more minor league rehab game Wednesday before returning Friday at Colorado.

Cubs: Second-year slugger Kris Bryant wasn’t in the lineup. “It didn’t matter who was pitching today as long as he was right-handed,” Maddon said. “I wanted to give him the day off.”


Mattingly said RHP David Phelps will move into the rotation and start Friday against the Rockies. He’ll replace RHP Colin Rea, who was traded back to San Diego on Monday.


Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (8-8, 4.18 ERA) returns from a pectoral injury and faces Lackey (8-7, 3.69) to close the season series.

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