Marlins shoot for seventh straight win over Cubs

8:34 AM, Jul 18, 2012   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - It didn't take long for the Miami Marlins' recent run of success over the Chicago Cubs to rub off on new comer Carlos Lee.

After helping slug the Marlins past the Cubs in last night's opener of a three-game series, Lee and his new teammates look for an encore tonight with a seventh straight victory over Chicago.

Acquired from the Astros on July 4 for a pair of prospects, Lee hit his first homer with the Marlins in last night's 9-5 win, a fifth inning grand slam that was the 17th of his career. He ended with two hits and couldn't really explain afterwards his success with the bases loaded.

"Not really," Lee remarked about his 17 career slams. "If you go out there and try to hit home runs, I think that you're going to fail 90 percent of the time or more."

Omar Infante added a two-run homer and drove in three runs, while Hanley Ramirez had a solo shot and a double for a Marlins club that was coming off a four-game split with the Washington Nationals.

The three homers were more than enough support for starter Anibal Sanchez, who yielded two runs -- one earned -- over seven innings.

Miami has won six straight games against the Cubs, who entered Tuesday sporting a season high-tying four-game win streak. That includes an earlier sweep of a three-game series in Miami from April 17-19.

Travis Wood had been victorious in his previous four decisions for the Cubs, but lasted just 4 2/3 frames, allowing eight runs on eight hits.

"He just didn't come out with much command," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He couldn't keep the ball down, everything was up."

Jeff Baker hit a solo homer in the loss and Luis Valbuena added an eighth- inning, two-run double.

The Cubs had won six straight at Wrigley Field -- their longest stretch at home since 2009 -- but they were simply outslugged by Miami on Tuesday.

Josh Johnson hopes to keep that trend going tonight for the Marlins, but he has allowed five runs in back-to-back starts and is coming off a loss to the Nationals on Friday. The right-hander was touched for a career high-tying 11 hits and fanned six without a walk over 5 1/3 frames.

The right-hander fell to 5-6 with a 4.28 earned run average in 18 starts this season and did not factor into an April 17 encounter with the Cubs. Johnson yielded a pair of runs over seven innings and the 28-year-old has not logged a decision in three career starts with the Cubs while pitching to a 3.44 ERA and striking out 19 over 18 1/3 frames.

Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija did not have as much luck when he faced the Marlins on April 19. Charged with a loss, the righty allowed five runs on eight hits and five walks over 3 2/3 frames.

He gets a rematch tonight, but lost for the fifth time in six starts last time out on July 7 at the Mets. The 27-year-old Samardzija did turn in his second straight seven-inning outing, allowing three runs on seven hits in a 3-1 setback. He said afterwards it was the pair of homers he allowed that cost him.

"I didn't think I pitched bad early," said Samardzija. "It's just those two homers. Those pitches over the plate will get you."

In 17 starts this season, Samardzija is 6-8 with a 4.71 ERA.

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