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Florida at Chicago

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Florida (53-49)002000010380
Chi. Cubs (60-42) «00104100x681

Zambrano helps Cubs remain alone atop NL Central

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Despite a number of key injuries, manager Lou Piniella and the Chicago Cubs have found a way to stay on top of the NL Central.

Carlos Zambrano pitched seven solid innings and the Cubs snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Florida Marlins with a 6-3 victory Thursday night.

After a 2-4 road trip, the Cubs got home runs from Henry Blanco and Ronny Cedeno and a two-run double from Aramis Ramirez to improve to 38-12 at Wrigley Field.

"I don't know want to use the word remarkable, but that's what comes to mind," Piniella said. "Of the fact that we haven't been to where we want to go for a long time everybody has gotten on our bandwagon but it hasn't been easy. It's been a complete struggle if you want to know the truth.

Carlos Marmol, subbing for closer Kerry Wood who was placed on the 15-day disabled before the game, got four outs for his fourth save but it wasn't smooth. He threw 38 pitches in the ninth and loaded the bases, finally ending it by striking out Wes Helms on a 3-2 pitch.

Hanley Ramirez homered for the Marlins, who have lost three of four overall and lost to the Cubs for the first time since April 25, 2006.

Zambrano (11-4), who drove in a run with a double, held the Marlins to two runs and five hits, striking out six and hitting a batter.

"What are the strengths of this club? We have darn good starting pitching. They give us a chance to win all games all the time," Piniella said.

And the manager still has confidence in Marmol.

"He's a little too excited. He just needs to calm down a little bit, make his pitches, trust his pitches, he's got good stuff," Piniella said.

Trailing 2-1, the Cubs got to Florida starter Scott Olsen (6-5) in the fifth inning. Mark DeRosa drew a leadoff walk and Blanco singled. One out later, Zambrano ripped an RBI double down the left-field line to score DeRosa and tie the game at 2.

With first base open, the Marlins elected to walk Alfonso Soriano to load the bases. Olsen got Ryan Theriot to hit a comebacker and he forced Blanco at home. But Olsen walked Derrek Lee on a 3-2 pitch to make it 3-2.

With the crowd still on its feet, Aramis Ramirez followed with a double over the head of right fielder Luis Gonzalez, who took a bad route on the ball. Soriano and Theriot scored to put the Cubs up 5-2, but Lee was thrown out at the plate.

"I thought I executed my pitch," Olsen said. "Apparently not, but it's not my decision. The one to Lee, it is what it is. It was close. It's going to go either way."

Blanco hit a solo homer with two outs in the sixth.

The Marlins threatened in the eighth. Cubs reliever Bob Howry came in with the bases loaded and no outs and got Cody Ross to fly out to shallow right.

"We had some opportunities. We weren't able to put a crooked number up in the eighth or the ninth inning and they put up a big number in the ninth," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Luis Gonzalez then drove the ball to right, but DeRosa made a spectacular diving catch. Alfredo Amezaga tagged up at third to cut the lead to 6-3. Marmol got the final out of the inning, by striking out Josh Willingham looking.

DeRosa got some positioning help from center fielder Reed Johnson before the catch.

"He gave me a single like he was falling asleep, but I read it to move over a couple of steps and it worked," DeRosa said.

After Olsen singled in the third, Ramirez hit his 24th homer into the bleachers in left.

Olsen allowed six runs and seven hits. He walked three and had three strikeouts.

Chicago general manager Jim Hendry hopes Wood can return Tuesday at Milwaukee when he is eligible to be activated. He was put on the DL retroactive to July 14 with a blister on his pitching hand.

Cedeno led off the third with his second homer of the season.

Notes

  • Wood went on the DL for the 12th time in his 10-year career.
  • Marlins 2B Dan Uggla was not in the lineup but pinch-hit in the ninth.
  • Cubs RF Kosuke Fukudome and C Geovany Soto had the night off.
  • Thursday night's attendance was 41,482 and the Cubs surpassed the two million mark, the fastest they reached that figure in club history.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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It doesn't come easy, but the Cubs hold on to improve to 38-12 at Wrigley Field.  (AP)
It doesn't come easy, but the Cubs hold on to improve to 38-12 at Wrigley Field. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

C. Zambrano
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 2
BB 0
K 6
Florida

H. Ramirez
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez, SS5112013 .299
Alfredo Amezaga, 2B5110011 .280
Jorge Cantu, 3B-1B3030100 .294
Mike Jacobs, 1B3000013 .243
   a- Wes Helms, PH-3B1000113 .232
Cody Ross, CF4000013 .260
Luis Gonzalez, RF3001001 .260
Josh Willingham, LF4020012 .266
John Baker, C3000111 .182
Scott Olsen, P2110010 .175
   b- Jeremy Hermida, PH1000011 .253
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
    Joe Nelson, P0000000 .000
   c- Dan Uggla, PH0000100 .269
Totals3438349  
a-walked for Jacobs in the 8th
b-struck out for Olsen in the 7th
c-walked for Nelson in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jorge Cantu (24, Gaudin)
HR - Hanley Ramirez (24, Zambrano)
SF - Luis Gonzalez (4)
RBI - Hanley Ramirez 2 (47), Luis Gonzalez (36)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Luis Gonzalez 1
DP - H. Ramirez-Amezaga
Florida Marlins
Scott Olsen (L,6-5) 6766332 4.07
Matt Lindstrom 1000000 3.90
Joe Nelson 1100130 1.38
IBB - Soriano by Scott Olsen
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Olsen 85-58, Matt Lindstrom 11-7, Joe Nelson 19-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Olsen 6-7, Matt Lindstrom 2-1
Batters Faced - Scott Olsen 26, Matt Lindstrom 3, Joe Nelson 5
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF3110100 .282
Ryan Theriot, SS4100004 .321
Derrek Lee, 1B3001120 .297
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4022000 .270
Reed Johnson, CF4010011 .280
Mark DeRosa, RF2100201 .277
Henry Blanco, C4121013 .299
Ronny Cedeno, 2B3111012 .266
Carlos Zambrano, P2111010 .356
   a- Daryle Ward, PH1000000 .259
    Chad Gaudin, P0000000 .000
    Neal Cotts, P0000000 .000
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
Totals3068646  
a-grounded out for Zambrano in the 7th
Batting
2B - Alfonso Soriano (13, Olsen), Aramis Ramirez (23, Olsen), Reed Johnson (15, Olsen), Carlos Zambrano (3, Olsen)
HR - Henry Blanco (2, Olsen), Ronny Cedeno (2, Olsen)
RBI - Derrek Lee (61), Aramis Ramirez 2 (68), Henry Blanco (6), Ronny Cedeno (21), Carlos Zambrano (8)
2-OUT RBI - Derrek Lee (13), Aramis Ramirez 2 (21), Henry Blanco (1)
SB - Aramis Ramirez (2, 2nd base off Nelson/Baker)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Henry Blanco (2, Dropped fly)
Chicago Cubs
Carlos Zambrano (W,11-4) 7622061 2.96
Chad Gaudin0210000 3.38
Neal Cotts0000100 2.50
Bob Howry (H,14) 0.2000000 5.14
Carlos Marmol (S,4) 1.1000330 3.88
HBP - Cantu (by Carlos Zambrano)
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Zambrano 125-81, Chad Gaudin 9-6, Neal Cotts 4-0, Bob Howry 9-7, Carlos Marmol 38-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Zambrano 8-7, Carlos Marmol 1-0
Batters Faced - Carlos Zambrano 28, Chad Gaudin 2, Neal Cotts 1, Bob Howry 2, Carlos Marmol 7
Game Information
Attendance - 41482
Game Time - 2:45
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Bruce Dreckman, First Base - Brian Gorman, Second Base - Gerry Davis, Third Base - Rob Drake