04/28/2013 12:26 AM ET
Schierholtz back in lineup, keeps on hitting
By Darci Miller / Special to MLB.com
MIAMI -- After sitting out Friday night's game, Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz returned to the lineup against the Marlins on Saturday.
Schierholtz watched his team's 4-2 win from the bench because the Marlins started lefty Wade LeBlanc, and manager Dale Sveum takes those opportunities to give Schierholtz a rest. But with Miami righty Alex Sanabia on the mound Saturday, Schierholtz was back in the No. 5 spot. He doubled in and scored in the second inning.
He entered Saturday leading the team in average, batting .313 with three home runs and nine RBIs. Schierholtz enjoyed a seven-game hitting streak from April 8-18, during which he batted .400 with five doubles, five RBIs and six runs scored.
"I'm just keeping things simple, not overthinking," said Schierholtz. "Any situation, I'm going in there with a clear mind. Seeing the ball and hitting the ball."
In the series opener on Thursday, he went 2-for-4, hitting a double and a solo homer to help the Cubs to a 4-3 win. On Monday night in Cincinnati, he collected his second three-hit game of the season, going 3-for-6. Despite this, the Cubs fell, 5-4, in 13 innings.
Schierholtz was looking forward to stepping back into the batter's box and, though he does his homework, tries not to let anything get in the way.
"I'll watch video on the pitcher and formulate my own game plan, but for now, it's just keeping things simple and having fun," he said.
Barney contributes to win with glove, bat
MIAMI -- On Friday night, the Cubs got some timely help from their Gold Glove second baseman.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Marlins had runners on first and second with Placido Polanco at the plate. Polanco hit a sharp ground ball back to Scott Feldman on the mound, who turned and threw to second. But the throw went high, and it took a leap from Darwin Barney to keep the ball out of center field. Barney came down on the bag and fired to first to complete the double play.
"I'm glad it happened," said Barney. "It's nice to pick up your pitcher and pick up yourself on a play like that."
Manager Dale Sveum was equally as pleased with the play.
"That's a whole different game if that ball goes into center field, let alone getting the double play," he said. "So having that kind of ability, a guy that's so solid on that type of double play, those things change the night around, to have that kind of defense."
Barney also impressed at the plate, reaching base four times with three hits and a hit-by-pitch. It was his first three-hit game of the season.
"I'm feeling better [at the plate]," said Barney. "My hands hurt because I've been swinging so much in the cage, but I found some holes today and sometimes that's what you need to not hit .120."
Cubs enjoying first winning streak of season
MIAMI -- Before this series against the Marlins, the Cubs hadn't won two consecutive games.
Not only will they leave Miami with their first two-game winning streak, they tacked on a third as well Saturday and could make it four in a row Sunday.
"I think this would change the mood in any clubhouse," said Nate Schierholtz. "You win a few games and build that momentum. We just want to go out there ... and finish the series on a good note, and keep the momentum going."
They did just that. With two quick runs in the first two innings and another in the seventh Saturday, the Cubs look to sweep their first series of the 2013 season Sunday.
"It's huge. Big confidence booster," said Travis Wood, the winning pitcher in the Cubs' 3-2 victory. "To come off getting swept at Milwaukee and losing some close games in Cincinnati, coming here and winning the first three, going for a sweep tomorrow ... you pull that out and it's going to be outstanding."
Second baseman Darwin Barney says that having quality pitching every day lifts the defense and contributes to the sparkling plays made behind the pitchers.
"We're hoping to get a little momentum," said Barney. "We pitch well enough to win more games than we have. It's just a matter of the offense coming through in the situations they need to. If our offense puts up some runs, we have a chance to win."
• Third baseman Ian Stewart missed his rehab start with Triple-A Iowa on Friday night. Sveum says Stewart was hit on the elbow earlier this week and was too sore to throw on Friday, but a setback is not anticipated.
Darci Miller is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.