Cubs’ Esteban Quiroz gets first major-league hit in victory vs. Marlins: ‘His story is awesome’

MIAMI — Cubs infielder Esteban Quiroz’s first major-league hit was a scorching comebacker he lined past Marlins right-hander Pablo Lopez and into center field Tuesday.

”It was a very humbling experience,” Quiroz said through an interpreter of his first major-league start. ”I’ve dreamt of this moment.”

In the Cubs’ 2-1 victory against the Marlins, manager David Ross penciled Quiroz into the starting lineup for the first time. He played second base and batted second.

In his first at-bat of the game, Quiroz lined a single up the middle. Then he bunted for his second career hit in the eighth, loading the bases. That bunt, which moved Michael Hermosillo to third base, set up David Bote for the tiebreaking sacrifice fly.

”His story is awesome,” right-hander Adrian Sampson said of Quiroz. ”I love good baseball stories, not just top-round guys.”

Quiroz, 30, made his major-league debut last weekend after more than a decade in the Mexican League and minor leagues combined.

”I think most of my teammates, if not all of them, know what I’ve gone through to get to this moment in my career,” Quiroz said. ”It’s been awhile that I’ve taken to get here to the big leagues. They’ve welcomed me with open arms.”

Quiroz made his mark on defense, as well, flying all over the right side of the infield.

”It was pretty impressive,” Ross said, ”so he’ll be in there [Wednesday].”

Smyly’s start pushed back

The Cubs pushed back left-hander Drew Smyly’s start, originally scheduled for Wednesday, to give him time to rest a fatigued shoulder. Instead, right-hander Marcus Stroman is penciled in to pitch the series finale.

”There’s been a little bit of some stuff that’s been bothering him that he’s been pushing through a little bit,” Ross said.

The Cubs have a day off Monday, and Ross said he expects Smyly will pitch around then, likely either Sunday against the Pirates on the road or Tuesday against the Phillies at home.

”But it won’t be an [injured list] stint, as of right now,” Ross said.

The Cubs already had pushed back the rotation a day to give left-hander Wade Miley extra time between starts. They moved his start from Saturday to Monday, and right-hander Hayden Wesneski filled in, making his first major-league start.

Now Stroman will pitch on regular rest Wednesday.

Ross also said Monday that he expects Wesneski to get at least one more start.

Sampson stingy

Sampson recorded his third consecutive quality start, holding the Marlins to one run in six innings. He has allowed a combined two runs in his last three starts.

Right-hander Adbert Alzolay replaced Sampson and made his second appearance since returning from the 60-day IL with a strained right lat. Alzolay recorded two strikeouts in two hitless innings before left-hander Brandon Hughes closed it out and earned his sixth save.

”I thought our pitching was the story of tonight,” Ross said.

Bote drove in both of the Cubs’ runs, hitting a home run the inning before his go-ahead sacrifice fly.

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