Butler (3-1) allowed one run and three hits in 5 2/3 innings, bouncing back nicely from a shaky start at San Diego last Tuesday. He did hit just.238 previous year, but with a lot more quality contact than he has shown in 2017, so that average has dropped to.213.
After a first inning where Jake Arrieta's handle on the strike zone was a nod to Doc Ellis on the anniversary of the greatest sporting accomplishment in history, he settled in for the next five, allowing the Marlins only one more hit and one more walk. Marcell Ozuna had two hits, but the Marlins' lineup struggled for the most part on an unseasonably cool, breezy night at Wrigley Field.
Jason Heyward had three hits and two RBIs as the Cubs remained ideal since returning home after a winless six-game road trip. Giancarlo Stanton followed with a two-out double, chasing Butler. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award victor retired 16 in a row over one stretch, showing signs of rounding into form after a bumpy start to the season.
"Just to really have some balls on the grass and score runs that way that was kind of nice to do", Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "The guys are starting to feel it a little bit more". His HR/FB rate has gone from 14.2% last season to just 6% this year, so he's become a much easier out.
Mike Fiers (3-2) pitched into the sixth inning, allowing two runs and seven hits.
Rizzo's three-run homer in the fifth inning - his 13th - gave the Cubs the lead, but Chicago also broke out of an over reliance on homers with seven runs coming via singles and doubles. Anthony Rizzo went 2 for 5 with a homer and 4 RBI, while Javier Baez, Jon Jay and Jason Heyward all had double with a pair of RBI, with Heyward adding a pair of 2-baggers in the win.
Rizzo is 11 for 29 with five homers and 12 RBIs in his career against Locke.
"If he sees it that way, then they're balls", Locke said.
The line was an unremarkable one: 4 2/3 innings, four runs (three earned), four hits, four walks, three strikeouts.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said at least the start was encouraging. "So you've just got to do a better job making pitches when you have to make them". "Not necessarily pressing or trying to do more than we're capable of, but just maybe trying to get locked in a little more as far as our mental approach, just focusing exclusively on that and allowing our ability to show through without putting added pressure on ourselves".
Realmuto tripled to lead off the seventh and scored when Cubs shortstop Addison Russell booted Riddle's ground ball. The right-hander improved to 3-0 with a 3.04 ERA in four home starts this season.
The Cubs' bullpen is back at full strength with the return of right-handed closer Wade Davis. Albert Almora, Jr., next up after Heyward, worked the count in his favor to 3-1, and then Straily tried to sneak his fourseam fastball by him for strike two, but at 88 miles per hour and badly located, Almora sent it out of the park to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. The under is also 6-1 in the Cubs' last seven games overall, is 4-1 in their last five home games, and is 5-1 in their last six games versus a team with a losing record. He got hurt running the bases Saturday, grounded out in a pinch-hit appearance Sunday and didn't play in Monday night's 3-1 loss to the Cubs.
Marlins left-hander Jeff Locke (0-0, 1.59 ERA) and Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta (5-4, 4.60) start Tuesday night in the second game of the series.