July 25, 2008

There’s No Place Like Home; Cubs Fry Fish at Wrigley

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Aramis Ramirez keyed a four-run fifth inning with a two-run double and Carlos Zambrano tossed seven strong innings, as the Chicago Cubs downed the Florida Marlins, 6-3, in the opener of a four-game series at Wrigley Field.

Zambrano (11-4) allowed two runs on six hits with six strikeouts for the Cubs, who continued their strong play at home. It was a welcomed change for the club, which returned home after a 2-4 road trip and now owns the best home record in the majors at 38-12. Ronny Cedeno and Henry Blanco both added solo home runs in the win.

Hanley Ramirez belted a two-run homer for the Marlins, who have lost two straight and five of their last eight games overall.

Scott Olsen (6-5), a native of the Chicago metropolitan area, started on the hill for the Marlins and allowed all six runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and three walks.

Earlier Thursday, the Cubs placed pitcher Kerry Wood on the 15-day disabled list with a blister on his right index finger. The move is retroactive to July 14. The club will make a corresponding roster move prior to Friday's game.

The Cubs trailed 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth but scored four times for a 6-2 advantage.

Mark DeRosa led off with a walk and moved to second on a single by Blanco. Zambrano helped his own cause with a one-out double to left that scored DeRosa and Alfonso Soriano was intentionally walked to load the bases.

"It's part of my job," said Zambrano about batting as a pitcher. "As a National League pitcher, you have to go out there and give every effort in every at-bat. You have to take it seriously. Every time I go to the plate I do the best I can to do something."

With two outs, Derrek Lee drew a walk and Zambrano trotted home. Ramirez then stepped to the plate and ripped a double to right field. Two runners scored, and although Lee was cut down at the plate to end the inning, the Cubs moved into the sixth with a 5-2 lead.

Blanco's two-out solo blast in the sixth gave Chicago a four-run edge.

The Marlins drew within 6-3 in the top of the eighth courtesy of a sacrifice fly off the bat of Luis Gonzalez.

Carlos Marmol issued consecutive walks to John Baker and Dan Uggla to put the first two runners on base in the top of the ninth. Marmol then got two straight outs but issued his third walk of the inning to Jorge Cantu to load the bases, but Wes Helms struck out to end the game.

"He's a little too excitable," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella. "He's just needs to calm down a little bit -- make his pitches and trust his pitches. He's got good stuff."

Marmol earned his fourth save of the campaign.

Ramirez gave the visitors the lead with a two-run homer in the top of the third that also brought home Olsen, who had singled to center with one out. The Cubs cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the frame when Cedeno led off with his second home run of 2008.

Game Notes

Zambrano improved to 6-0 in 11 home starts this season and is now 4-1 in eight career starts versus Florida...The Cubs snapped a 10-game skid against the Marlins...Both teams produced eight hits...Zambrano's 2008 earned run average is 2.96...It was the 24th homer of the year for Ramirez...Prior to the game, the Marlins activated relief pitcher Justin Miller from the 15-day disabled list. He had been sidelined since July 5 with right elbow inflammation. To make room on the roster, the club optioned pitcher Ryan Tucker to Double-A Carolina.

07/25 00:42:31 ET