CHICAGO (AP)—Sergio Mitre seemed to be the only pitcher who handled the windy conditions at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.
The Cubs backed Mitre’s five-hitter with 18 hits in a 14-0 victory over the Florida Marlins on Tuesday night, their biggest margin of victory this season.
Marlins starter Josh Beckett (7-5) allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings before being forced to leave with a blister on his right middle finger — a problem that has plagued him in his career.
Beckett, the 2003 World Series MVP, has been on the disabled list seven times, five because of blisters on the middle finger of his pitching hand. He has tried numerous remedies for the recurring problem.
“I guess it’s in the same place as it was in the past, but it’s not as big,” Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley said. “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes him.”
Aramis Ramirez hit two home runs and drove in four runs. With the wind blowing hard out of Wrigley Field, the Cubs took advantage, ending a two-game stretch in which they were outscored 17-2.
The Cubs had 10 extra-base hits, including Derrek Lee’s NL-leading 18th homer. Lee also had two doubles and a run-scoring single, driving in three runs to tie him for the NL lead with 56.
“It was a great day to hit,” Lee said. “The wind was blowing out pretty hard, so if you got it in the air you had a good chance today. It was definitely a great-hitting day and that just shows how good Sergio pitched. It was a great day to be a sinkerballer, too.”
Michael Barrett hit his eighth homer, a three-run shot in the eighth, then Jerry Hairston had an RBI triple and Lee doubled him home. The Wrigley Field crowd chanted “MVP!” after Lee just missed hitting for the cycle.
“It’s a good feeling,” Lee said. “They’re appreciate what you’re doing and they’re showing their support. It’s a great feeling and it psyches you up a little bit.”
Mitre, in his second callup from Triple-A Iowa this season, had his second straight strong start, striking out three with no walks. He threw just 99 pitches, 73 for strikes, in his first career complete game. He allowed two hits over seven shutout innings on June 8 against Toronto.
“Serg was outstanding,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “The thing that we liked the best was his pitch conservation. He was under 100 pitches, complete game. That’s rare but that means he’s getting a lot of strike ones. That’s one of the better games I’ve seen pitched in a long time.”
Mitre (2-1) didn’t let the strong breeze affect him. He stayed ahead of the hitters by spotting his 91 mph sinker and got 18 outs on groundballs, including two double plays. Only three outs were made by an outfielder.
“If he pitches like that, he’ll win a lot of games,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said.
The Cubs scored three runs in the fourth, two on Ramirez’s homer to right off Josh Beckett (7-5), and five in the sixth. They got another five in the eighth.
Ramirez gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead with a two-run homer in the fourth. Lee made it 4-0 with a solo homer off Beckett in the sixth, sending a high 3-0 pitch onto Waveland Ave.
Beckett then nearly hit Burnitz in the leg, earning a warning to both benches from home plate umpire Bruce Froemming. Beckett, however, left with a 2-1 count because of the blister.
McKeon wasn’t sure if they would have to put Beckett on the disabled list.
“From talking to the trainer, it’s not as bad as it was last year,” he said. “But we’re still talking about 10 days, 12 days, 14 days.”
Smith gave up five runs on six hits in one inning.
“The horses are the horses,” Baker said. “He’s not a horse yet, he’s a little pony trying to be a horse. He’ll be a horse someday.”
Prior threw off the mound for the second time in three days Tuesday and said he felt good, throwing all of his pitches. … Wood returned to Chicago after his first rehabilitation start with Iowa on Monday. The Cubs said he will start at least two more times before returning to the majors. … Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo’s homer Monday ended a 478 at-bat dry spell, the longest such streak in the majors. … This was Ramirez’s 12th multihomer game and his first since Sept. 16, 2004, at Cincinnati. … Mitre’s previous longest outing was 7 2-3 innings on April 10, 2004, at Atlanta. … Every Cub starter had a hit and scored a run except Corey Patterson.