Miami, FL – Luis Valbuena hit the go-ahead home run in the ninth inning, and the Chicago Cubs edged the Miami Marlins, 4-3, on Thursday.
With two outs in the inning, Valbuena took the first pitch off the Marlins' Steve Cishek (1-3) and smashed it into right to break the 3-3 tie.
"He's been consistent. His at-bats, and his defense, he's just been good. He has four home runs, he's done a great job," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Nate Schierholtz knocked a solo homer while David DeJesus and Welington Castillo each had an RBI for the Cubs, who came into the game 1-5 in the midst of a 10-game road trip.
Cubs starter Edwin Jackson allowed three runs on five hits and four walks in six innings in a no-decision. Shawn Camp (1-1) pitched a perfect eighth to pick up the win and Carlos Marmol escaped trouble in the ninth to notch his second save.
Juan Pierre had an RBI and two stolen bases for the Marlins, who have the worst record in the league. Giancarlo Stanton and Rob Brantly also drove in a run apiece in defeat, their sixth in eight games. Starter Kevin Slowey gave up three runs on five hits over six innings.
"I felt good and I think as a starting pitcher all you can ask is to have the faith of your manager and the faith of your pitching coach. I think they had faith in me," Slowey said.
DeJesus doubled to start the game and Starlin Castro drove him home with a single.
In the bottom of the inning, Placido Polanco drew a walk while Stanton and Joe Mahoney hit singles to load the bases. After Justin Ruggiano struck out, Brantly drew a walk, bringing Polanco home and tying the game, 1-1.
A single by Pierre in the second scored Donovan Solano, who singled to leadoff the inning and advanced to second off a sacrifice bunt by Slowey. Pierre then stole second and third base with Polanco batting. Polanco drew a walk, bringing Stanton to bat. He grounded towards the shortstop, forcing Polanco out but bringing Pierre home.
In the fourth, Castillo knocked a double that scored Schierholtz, who also doubled with one out in the inning.
Schierholtz's home run with one out in the sixth tied the game at 3-3.
Marmol came to pitch for the Cubs in the ninth. He initially had trouble, walking Solano and allowing a single by Austin Kearns. Pierre was next and he bunted, advancing Solano and Kearns. However, Marmol got Polanco to fly out to center and Stanton struck out to end the game.
The Cubs have seen 18 of their first 21 games decided by three runs or less for the first time since 1950. They are 6-12 in those games ... Castro has appeared in 216 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak in the league, behind only Prince Fielder's 364 ... The Marlins were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.