MIAMI (AP) - With only three wins in 13 games this season, the Chicago Cubs know they need to turn things around in a hurry.
The Cubs dropped their fifth straight game with a 5-3 loss to the Miami Marlins on Thursday.
``It's tough,' said outfielder David DeJesus. ``We come to the field to win the games. It's not like we're hanging around and having fun. We want to win baseball games.'
Darwin Barney drove in the Cubs' runs on a bases-loaded triple in the second inning off Miami starter Ricky Nolasco, and Chicago did not have a single baserunner after Nolasco departed in the sixth.
``Every championship team has a great bullpen and I think we do,' said Marlins closer Heath Bell, who recorded his second save in four opportunities.
The loss came in the finale of a six-game road trip for the Cubs.
``It will be nice to get back home,' manager Dale Sveum said. ``Obviously not a good trip after starting 1-0.'
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (2-1) was tagged for five runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings.
``We've got to win,' Samardzija said. ``Pitchers have to pitch better, position players have to play their positions better, it is all around. There's not one thing we need to improve. It starts with yourself and me personally I need to come out and have a nice, strong start.'
Greg Dobbs hit a two-run double for Miami, which has won five of six. Hanley Ramirez and Logan Morrison each had two hits and Emilio Bonifacio stole two bases.
``Right now they are putting it together,' Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said.
An announced attendance of 23,168 saw the Marlins complete their first home series sweep against the Cubs since September 2007 and improve to 5-2 in their new ballpark.
``It was pretty cool,' Dobbs said of the afternoon crowd. ``That was something we never had at Sun Life. This is a beautiful park. It's pretty breathtaking. Our goal is to play winning baseball. If we win, they will come. It's a rebirth, new name, new stadium, new players. This stadium is very, very special.'
Nolasco (2-0) went 5 1-3 innings, allowing three runs and striking out four.
``I didn't go as deep as I would have liked,' Nolasco said.
Nolasco was shaky early on as the Cubs left six on base through the first three innings. He settled down before being lifted in the sixth for Mike Dunn following an error by shortstop Jose Reyes. Ryan Webb, Randy Choate, and Edward Mujica contributed to the bullpen's success.
``(The bullpen) is what makes a good manager or a bad manager,' Guillen said. ``Today I am a genius.'
Miami jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. A walk and steal by Bonifacio, and a single by Ramirez set up Morrison's RBI single, and another run scored on a groundout by Giancarlo Stanton.
Chicago responded in the second with Barney's triple down the right-field line.
``Barney came up with a huge hit,' Sveum. ``We just couldn't capitalize other times.'
Dobbs' two-run double in the third off Samardzija gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead. After a two-out intentional walk, Nolasco helped himself with an RBI single.
NOTES: Ramirez is hitting .550 (11 for 20) with three home runs and nine RBIs in his last five games. ... Marlins 2B Omar Infante (groin) remained sidelined for the second straight game and remains day-to-day. ... Because of a computer problem in a ticket office near third base, the Marlins were unable to process any sales for about 15 minutes, so 150 fans were admitted free. ... The Marlins are averaging 29,442 fans at home. Said Bell: ``It's unusual for us to have a lot of fans, but we've never had a beautiful ballpark like this.' ... Cubs SS Starlin Castro has reached base safely in 52 of his last 53 games back. ... Miami will travel to Washington for a three-game weekend series and will send RHP Carlos Zambrano (0-0, 3.75 ERA) to the mound to face LHP Ross Detwiler (1-0, 0.90). Zambrano is 8-3 with a 3.35 ERA in his career against the Nationals. ... RHP Chris Volstad (0-1, 4.91) will take the mound Friday for the Cubs in a three-game series against the Reds, who will counter with RHP Homer Bailey (0-2, 5.40). Volstad is looking to snap a 13-game winless start streak dating to last July 17.
The Associated Press News Service
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