MIAMI -- Small ball was a big part of the Chicago Cubs' offense Wednesday night. A couple of home runs helped, too.
Pinch-hitter Reed Johnson tied the game with a two-run homer in the sixth, and Marlon Byrd put the Cubs ahead to stay with a leadoff homer in the eighth as they broke a three-game losing streak by beating the Florida Marlins 7-5.The Cubs came into the game with 30 homers, more than only three NL teams.
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"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 team."The Cubs scratched out runs, too. Darwin Barney had an RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly. Tony Campana, playing in his second big league game, pinch-ran in the eighth and scored from third on a grounder to third, barely beating the throw home with a headfirst slide."It seems like when a team executes, it tends to take a little of the pressure off," said backup catcher Koyie Hill, who went 3 for 3 and scored three times.The Cubs totaled 13 hits and overcame a 5-3 deficit to bounce 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.Unbeaten Ricky Nolasco took a two-run lead into the sixth for Florida but couldn't hold it. After Hill singled with two out, Johnson batted for Dempster and hit his second home run of the season.Johnson improved his lifetime average against Florida to .425 (17 for 40)."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."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," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "He's getting there. It was very encouraging to see him swing the bat better."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.
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 Miami.