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Buehrle takes ball for Marlins at Wrigley

Streaking lefty Mark Buehrle can reach double-digit wins for the 12th consecutive season today, when the Miami Marlins visit Wrigley Field to conclude a three-game midweek series with the Chicago Cubs.

A veteran crosstown rival of the Cubs with the Chicago White Sox, the 33-year- old Missouri native won at least 10 games - and as many as 19 - every season in the American League between 2001 and 2011.

He came to the Marlins as a free agent in December, signing a four-year deal worth $54 million that carries through the 2015 season.

Buehrle got off to a shaky start with his new team and was just 5-8 through his first 14 National League starts as of June 19, but he's since won four straight outings to get within reach of double digits.

In the four wins - against Toronto, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Washington - the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder has surrendered just three runs on 26 hits across 28 2/3 innings and has lowered his season's earned run average to 3.13.

In 14 career meetings with the Cubs, Buehrle is 6-4 with a 3.88 ERA.

In Wednesday's middle game, Geovany Soto hit a go-ahead single during a four- run seventh inning, and Chicago topped the Marlins, 5-1, in a rain-shortened contest.

Pinch-hitter Jeff Baker stroked a two-run double during the decisive frame, as the Cubs won for the fifth time in six contests. Starlin Castro started the bottom of the fourth with a homer.

The game was halted by a rain storm with one out in the top of the eighth.

Jose Reyes led off the third inning with a homer for the Marlins, who saw a two-game win streak broken.

Jeff Samardzija allowed six hits and fanned nine over five innings in the start for the Cubs, while Josh Johnson (5-7) yielded five hits and four runs over 6 1/3 frames for Miami.

James Russell (3-0) pitched the seventh inning for the win.

Today, the Cubs start lefty Paul Maholm, who's won three straight decisions to pull above .500 in his first season with Chicago.

The Mississippi native was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2003 and made 185 appearances with them through last season before signing a free-agent deal in January that could pay him $11.25 million over two seasons if the Cubs exercise their option.

He was 4-6 after a 10-5 drubbing at Arizona on June 23, but has since won three starts and mixed in a scoreless relief appearance while lowering his ERA half a run from 4.84 to 4.33.

Additionally, he is 5-2 in nine 2012 starts at Wrigley.

The Marlins swept the initial 2012 series between the teams, winning three straight games in Miami in mid-April. The Cubs last won the season series in 2010.

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