Marlins snap Cubs’ 9-game road winning streak

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MIAMI (AP)—Florida Marlins closer Kevin Gregg got a quick shot at redemption.

One night after surrendering a game-winning home run, Gregg pitched a scoreless ninth to help the Florida Marlins snap the Chicago Cubs’ nine-game road winning streak with a 2-1 victory on Saturday night.

Hanley Ramirez homered and Cody Ross singled in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning. Anibal Sanchez (2-2) pitched 5 1-3 innings for the Marlins, who avoided tying a season-high four-game losing streak.

Gregg earned his 27th save in 33 chances by striking out Mike Fontenot to end the game with Cubs on first and second. Gregg had given up a three-run homer to pinch hitter Daryle Ward on Friday night.

“That’s what we do, we live for these situations,” Gregg said. “The game’s on the line and we’re out there going for it.”

Henry Blanco homered for the Cubs, who had won five straight overall and hadn’t lost a road game since July 22, at Arizona.

“Let’s win another nine and no one will remember this one,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.

The Cubs began the day with the best record in the National League and a 5 1/2 game lead in the NL Central over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Marlins remained in third place in the NL East, 3 1/2 games behind the New York Mets.

Chicago’s Sean Marshall (2-3) gave up two runs, four hits and matched his career-high with eight strikeouts in five innings in his first start since July 6.

“I take a lot of positives from the game,” Marshall said. “I hadn’t been on the hill to start in a while. I felt I had command of my pitches.”

Sanchez allowed one run and three hits, walking five and striking out six. In his last two starts, he has 14 strikeouts in 12 1-3 innings. Sanchez won 10 games and threw a no-hitter as a rookie in 2006, then missed most of last season and more than half of this one because of a shoulder injury that required surgery in June 2007. He made his first start this season on July 31.

Florida went ahead 2-1 in the fifth when Ross singled home Jeremy Hermida from second.

Hermida led off with a walk and took second on Matt Treanor’s ground out. Sanchez struck out and Ramirez was walked intentionally before Ross lined Marshall’s first pitch into right for a single.

“Nothing he throws is straight,” Ross said. “He threw me a little cutter that ran in. I just told myself, ‘Get jammed and try to hit it to the right side’ and luckily for us I did.”

Blanco homered to left-center with two out in the fourth to tie it at 1. It was Blanco’s third homer.

Ramirez’s 27th home run gave Florida a 1-0 lead in the first. It was Ramirez’s 22nd career leadoff homer and seventh this season.

Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano struck out pinch-hitting for reliever Bob Howry in the seventh. Zambrano is hitting .357 in 70 at-bats this season. He’s 1-for-6 (.167) as a pinch hitter.

Notes

Veteran catcher Paul Lo Duca joined the Marlins after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Albuquerque. … Derrek Lee’s ninth-inning single was career hit No. 1,500. … The game drew a season-high crowd 39,124, with more than half seemingly cheering on the Cubs. … In the third inning, Ward went halfway to first base before being called back to the batter’s box. Ward thought he had walked but Sanchez’s previous pitch made the count 3-1. … Florida is one of four teams (Cubs, Angels, Yankees) to not have a losing streak of five or more games.

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