Cubs 7, Marlins 5

When the Florida Marlins gave Ricky Nolasco a two-run lead, it

lasted only four batters.

Nolasco gave up a two-out single to backup catcher Koyie Hill

and a home run to pinch-hitter Reed Johnson in the sixth inning,

and the Chicago Cubs went on to win 7-5 Wednesday night.

”Unacceptable on my part,” Nolasco said. ”No excuses. I

didn’t get the job done. I’m going to take responsibility and take

the loss for the team.”

Defensive lapses hurt the Marlins, too. An error by left fielder

Logan Morrison allowed an unearned run to score, and Cubs

pinch-runner Tony Campana scored from third on a grounder to third,

barely beating Greg Dobbs’ throw home.

”In close games, the little things magnify,” Marlins manager

Edwin Rodriguez said.

Marlon Byrd put the Cubs ahead to stay with a leadoff homer in

the eighth as they broke a three-game losing streak. The Cubs came

into the game with 30 homers, more than only three NL teams.

”We’ve been doing small ball,” Byrd said. ”At the same time

we need to put up some power numbers. You need to get pitchers

worried about the long ball, not just singles. When we start adding

that to our game, it’s going to make us a better hitting


The Cubs scratched out runs, too: Darwin Barney had an RBI

groundout and a sacrifice fly. They totaled 13 hits and bounced

back from a two-game sweep at Cincinnati.

”There have been tons of games throughout the whole year we

felt like we’ve just given away,” Johnson said. ”If we can clean

things up, we could go on a pretty good run.”

Johnson hit his third career pinch-hit home run to make the

score 5-all. The Cubs took the lead when Byrd hit a changeup for

his second homer against Edward Mujica (4-2).

Chicago’s Ryan Dempster gave up five runs in five innings,

increasing his ERA to 6.91, but three relievers shut out Florida

over the final four innings. Jeff Samardzija (3-0) pitched two

scoreless innings, and Carlos Marmol worked 1 1-3 innings for his

ninth save in 11 chances.

Dempster gave up his 11th homer when Hanley Ramirez connected in

the first inning. Ramirez, who has been battling a season-long

slump, also singled and hiked his average to .211.

”He showed something today,” Rodriguez said. ”He’s getting

there. It was very encouraging to see him swing the bat


The Cubs scored their first run in the third. Hill led off with

a single, advanced on a sacrifice, took third on a single by Kosuke

Fukudome and came home on Barney’s groundout.

Chicago manufactured two more runs in the fifth, with help from

the Marlins’ defense. Hill led off with a broken-bat double, took

third on Fukudome’s infield hit and scored on Barney’s sacrifice

fly. When Starlin Castro’s single skipped past left fielder Logan

Morrison for an error, Fukudome came home with an unearned run that

made it 3-1.

”We took advantage of a few mistakes, instead of the other way

around,” Cubs manager Mike Quade said.

The Marlins scored four runs, all with two out, in a span of

three pitches from Dempster in the fifth. After an RBI single by

Gaby Sanchez cut the Cubs’ lead to 3-2, Greg Dobbs hit the next

pitch for a two-run double. Mike Stanton followed with a

run-scoring single on the next pitch to put Florida up 5-3.

”We had the momentum,” Nolasco said. ”I let the team


Notes: RHP Clay Hensley (left ribs) began a rehabilitation

stint, and the Marlins hope to activate him Sunday, the first day

he’s eligible to come off the DL. … Ramirez began the homestand

hitting .414 against left-handers and .153 against righties. …

Marmol has yet to allow a run on the road in 10 2-3 innings. …

Chicago won despite going 2 for 11 with runners in scoring

position. … The Cubs have won seven of their past 10 games in