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MIAMI (AP) — Justin Bour is doing his best impersonation of Giancarlo Stanton as the Miami Marlins continue to win without arguably the top slugger in the majors.
The rookie has homered in each of Miami’s four straight victories and the last three proved to be game-winning shots for the Marlins, who look to match their season-high win streak Saturday night against the Chicago Cubs.
Bour had a solo home run in Tuesday’s 5-3 victory over San Francisco, hit a walk-off three-run blast in a 6-5 win the next day and put Miami (35-46) ahead with another three-run shot in a 5-4 victory Thursday to complete the sweep.
Then, in the opener of this three-game series Friday at Wrigley Field, Bour’s homer broke a 1-all tie in the sixth inning and gave the Marlins a 2-1 win.
He’s the third player in major league history to hit a go-ahead homer that turned out to be the winning RBI in three gamesin a row, joining Baltimore’s Jim Gentile in 1962 and Atlanta’s Javy Lopez in 2003.
No Marlin has ever gone deep in five straight and six rookies have done it since 1914, including Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers this year.
“He’s taking great swings, made the adjustment,” manager Dan Jennings said. “The league adjusted to him, he’s made the adjustment back, and it’s fun to watch him right now in the zone he’s in.”
Miami has won five of six since losing Stanton for four to six weeks with a hamate fracture in his left wrist. Stanton leads the majors with 27 homers and has 67 RBIs.
Christian Yelich is also hot for Miami, homering Friday to make him 10 for 18 since Stanton went down.
“It was a solid team win today and we’ve been playing really good baseball,” winning pitcher Tom Koehler said. “Hopefully, it’s something that will continue.”
The Cubs (42-36) saw the lineup struggle again as they scored two runs or fewer for the ninth time in 10 games. Chicago, though, entered off a three-game sweep after holding the New York Mets to one run. The team has a 2.19 ERA in the last 13 contests.
“We have not been scoring a lot of runs but we’ve been playing well,” manager Joe Maddon said. “… I think (the offensive struggles) sometimes bring out the best in the starters.”
The Cubs will have a new starter Saturday in Clayton Richard, acquired from Pittsburgh on Friday. The left-hander hasn’t been in the majors since having shoulder surgery in 2013 while with San Diego.
Richard went 4-2 with a 2.09 ERA in nine starts for the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis.
He’ll be opposed by Jarred Cosart (1-3, 4.12), who will make his first start since mid-May. The right-hander came off the disabled list June 25 after a bout with vertigo and made his first career relief appearance the next day against the Dodgers.
Cosart went four innings, allowing two runs and six hits with three walks.
“I just felt really out of sync, out of whack there,” he told MLB’s official website.
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