CHICAGO -- Aramis Ramirez's three-run homer gave him 100 RBI. More importantly, he said, it gave the struggling Chicago Cubs a victory and a series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team eyeing the playoffs.
"Right now we are playing spoilers. We took two out of three from a first-place team and that's something we play for right now," Ramirez said after his 33rd homer rallied the Cubs to a 6-5 win Thursday, knocking the Dodgers' lead to one-half game in the NL West.
The Dodgers headed home after a series in which they lost twice by blowing leads at Wrigley Field. Los Angeles begins a key four-game series Friday with second-place San Diego, which beat the Reds 4-2 Thursday.
"We've been through this before. We've had some awfully tough losses," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "This was another one today. We just have to put it behind us, come back tomorrow and start a big series with San Diego and see what happens."
But reliever Brett Tomko (8-7) was roughed up for the second time in the series when he came on in the seventh. Ronny Cedeno's single, a bunt single by Juan Pierre and a two-out RBI single by Ryan Theriot made it 5-3. Ramirez followed with a homer to left.
"It's tough, especially this late in the season. Everything's magnified," said Tomko, who gave up a hit, two walks and two runs in a one-third of an inning Tuesday night when the Dodgers blew a 7-0 lead and lost 9-8 in 11 innings.
Los Angeles didn't have such a big cushion Thursday but still let the game get away. Tomko, who has made 23 relief appearances and 15 starts, took the blame.
"It's a pretty bad feeling to blow a lead late in the game," he said. "It's different than going out as a starter and giving up four or five runs. It's been a rough couple of days for me, a rough series for me."
Ramirez had a rough start this year. He batted .197 in the first month of the season and through April and May had just nine homers and 25 RBI. Now, he's driven in 100 now for the fourth time in six years.
"Like I always say, the numbers end up pretty close to where they're going to be, regardless of how you start," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "You want to start great all the time, but it doesn't happen."
Kuo, in his second major league start after beating the Mets with six shutout innings six days ago, gave up seven hits and two runs in six innings with no walks and six strikeouts.
Chicago's Wade Miller, who spent most of the season on the disabled list, allowed just one hit in five innings -- a two-run homer off the right field foul pole by Marlon Anderson in the second. He left with the game tied at 2-2.
Los Angeles immediately reached Marmol for three straight hits, including Drew's 16th homer into the seats in left center.
Kenny Lofton started the rally with a bunt single when Marmol's throw hit him in the back of the head as he reached the first base bag. Nomar Garciaparra followed with a single to right before Drew connected.
The Cubs tied it the fourth on Angel Pagan's two-run triple.
Miller, in his second start of the season after off-season shoulder surgery, walked the first two batters in the fifth but pitched out of it, retiring Rafael Furcal on a bouncer to first for the final out. He left for a pinch-hitter with the game tied at 2, walked three and struck out three.
- Miller lasted just three innings in his previous start, giving up five hits and four runs in a loss to the Braves. He has a 62-44 career record with the Astros, Red Sox and Cubs.
- Lofton's leadoff hit in the sixth came on the 15th anniversary of his major league debut. He broke in with the Astros on Sept. 14, 1991.
- Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, now a special adviser to the chairman, led the singing during the seventh-inning stretch.
- Tomko got his 1,000th major league strikeout by fanning pinch-hitter Jacque Jones for the second out of the seventh.
- Theriot went to a hospital to have a finger on his right hand examined after the game. He hurt it fielding Anderson's grounder in the ninth and had to leave the game.