CHICAGO (AP) -- The Florida Marlins think they can emerge from
the wild-card pack and pull out a playoff berth.
Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run double and Paul Lo Duca added a
two-run single for the Marlins, who are 2½ games behind San
Francisco in a six-team race for the NL wild card. The Cubs fell a
game behind the Giants for the top spot.
"I have that feeling," Florida manager Jack McKeon said.
"This race is going to be very exciting. There's no guarantees,
but I feel good about how we're playing."
Florida, which has won 11 of 14 overall, is staying in Chicago
to play at least two games against Montreal at U.S. Cellular Field,
home of the White Sox, beginning Monday. The games were moved from
Miami because of the threat of Hurricane Ivan. The defending World
Series champions will still be the home team.
The Cubs and Marlins meet again in a makeup doubleheader Sept.
20 in Florida.
"They beat us pretty good," Chicago manager Dusty Baker said.
"They were hitting the ball all over the park."
After entering 0-6 away from home, Burnett (7-6) took a shutout
into the seventh and helped himself with two hits. He has won a
career-best four straight starts and five of his last six.
"I was just looking to win," said Burnett, who allowed one run
and six hits. "I haven't gotten a road win all year. This is a
good place to start."
Burnett was injured and didn't pitch last season when the
Marlins won Games 6 and 7 of the NL championship series at Wrigley
Field en route to their surprising title. But he's caught on quick
to Florida's recent winning ways.
"Burnett has pitched this way the last six or seven times
out," McKeon said. "He's been very important to us down this
stretch. ... Our young guys have held their own in this town."
Rusch hit Miguel Cabrera with a pitch in the fourth and gave up
a single to Mike Lowell. Conine hit an RBI double, Gonzalez a
two-run double and Burnett a run-scoring single to make it 5-0,
bringing boos from the Wrigley Field crowd of 38,794.
"We love Chicago," McKeon said before the game, chomping on
his customary cigar.
Rusch gave up four earned runs, seven hits and two walks in 3
1-3 innings, his shortest start of the season.
"I really struggled today command-wise and was constantly
behind in the count," Rusch said. "Basically they were putting
pressure on me in every inning and I never really got on that roll
to get things going."
Florida got two more runs in the sixth on consecutive
run-scoring singles by Pierre and Luis Castillo, and four in the
eighth on a two-run single by Lo Duca and RBI singles by Cabrera
The Marlins took the lead in the second inning when Cabrera
scored on a throwing error by Cubs left fielder Moises Alou.
"It gets real old," Baker said, referring to his team's sloppy
play. "Especially when it's happening by older guys. That's just
trying to do too much. That's what I think it is."
Chicago scored in the seventh on Todd Walker's RBI triple.
Josh Beckett (7-8, 3.78 ERA) starts Monday for Florida and
Ismael Valdez (12-8, 5.17) starts Tuesday." We might be here two,
three, four days," McKeon said. "It depends on what Pudge does."
Pudge is the nickname of ex-Marlins catcher Ivan Rodriguez. ...
Cubs SS Nomar Garciaparra sat out with a groin injury, as expected.
He left Saturday's game in the fifth inning when he tweaked the
groin, which had been bothering him for several days. Neifi Perez
replaced Garciaparra at SS and batted second. "We'll try to give
him a few days off," Baker said.