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Marlins 6, Cubs 4

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton hit two homers and added a run-scoring single as the Miami Marlins rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs 6-4 in a battle of last-place teams on Sunday.

Playing before an announced crowd of 19,817 at Marlins Park, Stanton went 3 for 3 with four RBI and a walk. His first homer, a two-run shot in the first inning, came on an inside fastball. His second homer, a solo shot in the eighth, came on a curve and measured 371 feet.

The win went to Ricky Nolasco (2-2), who retired the last 15 batters he faced, from the third to the seventh. He threw 100 pitches in seven inningsand allowed four hits and three runs -- all early.

The Marlins' winning rally began in the sixth when Juan Pierre singled to left. At the time, it was just the Marlins' second hit of the game.

Pierre stole second and, with two outs and first base open, the Cubs decided to pitch to the powerful and suddenly hot Stanton. He made them pay by drilling a single to left to tie the score 3-3.

Stanton advanced to second when the Cubs tried to throw Pierre out at home. Stanton then scored when Donovan Solano lined a single off the glove of shortstop Starlin Castro, who mis-timed his jump.

That made it 4-3, and the Marlins got an insurance run in the seventh when shortstop Nick Green hit a solo homer 378 feet to left. Stanton added his second homer in the eighth.

Marlins reliever Mike Dunn worked into a jam in the eighth when he gave up two one-out singles to Castro and Anthony Rizzo. But Dunn escaped when Alfonso Soriano lined out to left and pinch-hitter Scott Hairston popped out, forcing Pierre to charge in and make a fine running catch.

Closer Steve Cishek came on in the ninth to collect his third save of the season, although he gave up a solo homer to Dioner Navarro.

The Cubs scored in the first inning -- just as they have every game in this series. Leadoff batter David DeJesus drew a walk and, with one out, Rizzo pulled a low-and-outside pitch into the gap in right-center field for a run-scoring double.

In the bottom of the first, the Marlins took just their second lead of the series when Chris Coghlan walked before Stanton turned on an inside fastball and lined it to left for a 376-foot homer.

That shot was 96 feet shorter than Stanton's blast on Saturday -- not that it bothered Marlins fans. But what surely matters the most to the Marlins is that Stanton's power drought seems to be over.

Before Saturday's long ball, Stanton had gone 72 at-bats without a homer since Oct. 1, 2012. It was the third-longest drought of Stanton's career.

One positive note for the Marlins: After two droughts of 97 and 83 at-bats, respectively, he got hot each time. After the longer of the two, he hit six homers in nine games. After the shorter one, he slammed four homers in eight games.

The Cubs, meanwhile, grabbed the lead back in the third when Carlos Villanueva and DeJesus singled and Castro grounded a two-run double just inside the third-base bag to make it 3-2.

NOTES: The Marlins made six changes from Saturday's starting lineup to the card sent out by manager Mike Redmond on Sunday. Only Solono at second base and Stanton remained unchanged. Chris Valaika moved from shortstop to third base. Green played shortstop, Greg Dobbs was at first, Rob Brantly was the catcher, Pierre played in left and Coghlan was in center. ... The Cubs went with the same lineup except that they subbed in Navarro for Wellington Castillo. ... Cubs starting pitchers entered Sunday with a 3.02 ERA, the second-best mark in the National League. Only the St. Louis Cardinals (2.08) have been better. ...Since 2011, Castro has had eight hitting streaks of 10 games or longer. No one in the majors has had more during that span and only Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees has had as many. ... The Cubs, who have played 16 of their first 24 games on the road, will open a 10-game homestand against the San Diego Padres on Monday. ... The Marlins will remain at home and play three games against the New YOrk Mets starting Monday.
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