Johnson blasted in Cubs' 5-run 7th

BY foxsports • July 19, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Marlins couldn't get the big hit and then Mother Nature ended their night.

Starlin Castro homered and the Chicago Cubs batted around in a four-run seventh inning to beat Miami 5-1 in a rain-shortened game Wednesday night.

The Marlins struck out 12 times and left nine men on base.

"That's what we doing the best: leaving people on base," Miami manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Every time we play good it's because we drive those guys (in). We take advantage. When we don't, we have the result we have tonight."

Heavy rain began falling with Miami batting in the top of the eighth and the teams never returned to the field. The game was called after a 1-hour, 17-minute delay.

Castro hit his eighth home run of the season off Marlins starter Josh Johnson (5-7) leading off the fourth. Jeff Baker highlighted a seventh-inning rally with a two-run, pinch-hit double with the bases loaded.

James Russell (3-0) pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the victory in relief of Jeff Samardzija, who struck out nine in five innings.

Jose Reyes homered for Miami and Emilio Bonifacio had three hits, falling a homer shy of the cycle.

The Marlins had won six straight against the Cubs and were looking for their third consecutive win.

Johnson retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced before Castro led off the fourth with a home run. Miami's big right-hander responded by striking out the next three.

Johnson was economical until trouble found him in the seventh. Alfonso Soriano singled to lead off and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He scored on Geovany Soto's chopper over the head of Hanley Ramirez. Darwin Barney followed with a single to chase Johnson.

"Things were rolling along, I was getting early contact, getting ahead for the most part," Johnson said. "But then you get a chopper and a bloop. Nothing you can really do about it."

Mike Dunn fared no better in relief, surrendering hits to the first two batters he faced, including Baker's double. David DeJesus' sacrifice fly capped the four-run inning.

Johnson was charged with four runs over 6 1-3 innings. He struck out five and walked one to continue an inconsistent season. He gave up seven earned runs in five June starts, but has allowed 14 runs in three starts in July.

By contrast, Samardzija was effective for a third consecutive outing, allowing one run over five innings.

Reyes ripped an 0-2 delivery over the wall in right field leading off the third to put the Marlins up 1-0. It was his fourth homer of the year.

Samardzija got out of a jam in the fifth after Bonifacio hit a leadoff triple. After Carlos Lee grounded out, Logan Morrison hit a grounder with the infield in, but Soto bobbled the throw on a botched rundown to put runners at second and third. Samardzija struck out Ramirez and got Greg Dobbs to ground out to end the threat.

Samardzija was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth. He finished with nine strikeouts and two walks, scattering six hits.

"After that rundown, I kind of just took a second," Samardzija said. "That's what I was happy about, just taking my time and not rushing, making the pitches I needed to make."

Samardzija struggled in June, but has given up just five runs in 19 innings this month.

Guillen was again given a villain's welcome by the home crowd in his return to Chicago. After visiting the mound to remove Johnson in the seventh to a rain of boos, Guillen paused for a moment to banter with fans before disappearing into the visitor's dugout.

The Marlins still had five outs to work with when the rain came, but Guillen thought the umpires made the right call.

"I think they did the right thing not to keep us here until 1 o'clock in the morning and bang we have to be back here in the morning," he said.

NOTES: The Marlins activated RHP Edward Monica (broken toe) from the 15-day DL. RHP Ryan Webb was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. ... Cubs OF Jorge Solar will make his minor league debut on Thursday as a DH in the rookie league in Arizona, according to GM Theo Epstein. The 20-year-old Cuban prospect signed a 9-year, $30 million contract with Chicago on June 30.

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