Marlins blank Cubs to advance in MLB playoffs

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Garrett Cooper smacked a two-out home run off Chicago's Yu Darvish and the Miami Marlins defeated the Cubs 2-0 on Friday to advance in the Major League Baseball playoffs.

The Marlins, who hadn't reached the playoffs since winning the 2003 World Series, captured their best-of-three first round series with the host Cubs in two games.

Next for Miami will be National League East division rival Atlanta in a best-of-five second-round matchup to decide a berth in the National League Championship Series.

Darvish hurled 6 2/3 scoreless innings but was sent to the showers after Cooper homered and Matt Joyce doubled to set up a run-scoring single by Magneuris Sierra for a 2-0 Marlins edge.

The 34-year-old Japanese right-hander surrendered two runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts, throwing 69 of his 94 pitches for strikes.

Miami's Corey Dickerson and Jon Berti were walked by Cubs reliever Craig Kimbrel to begin the eighth but Jesus Aguilar grounded into a double play and Kimbrel struck out Brian Anderson to end the Marlins' threat.

The Cubs had their last chance in the ninth and Jason Heyward opened with a double to left field. But Miami reliever Brandon Kintzler struck out Javier Baez, David Bote and pinch-hitter Jason Kipnis to end the Cubs' season and advance.