Cubs Finally Get Win in Florida

The state of Florida has not been kind to the Cubs. But that might be changing after Friday night's 6-5 victory over the Marlins.

Earlier this season, they went to Tampa Bay and got swept in three games. They entered Friday looking for their first win against the Marlins in Florida since July 10, 2005.

In the days leading up to the series, manager Lou Piniella said he would speak to his team about playing here. Piniella cited the heat and humidity. It's believed he also wanted to remind the players not to spend too much time at the hotel pool.

"I talked to a couple of the players," Piniella said. "I think they read the comments in the paper. They read the paper a lot more than I do. So if it's in the paper, they read it. They know what we have to do."

Daryle Ward's pinch three-run homer in the ninth rallied the Cubs from a 5-3 deficit.

The Cubs extended their road winning streak to nine, the franchise's longest since the pennant-winning year of 1945.

"This is my first win in Florida as Cubs manager," Piniella noted.

NOTES, QUOTES

--3B Aramis Ramirez did not play because of the bruised left hip he suffered Thursday night in Atlanta while diving awkwardly into home plate. He may be able to play Saturday night.

--RHP Jason Marquis will be available out of the bullpen Saturday because the Cubs will bypass him in the three-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field beginning next Tuesday. Marquis will start next Friday against the Nationals at Wrigley. Against the Reds, they'll go with Rich Harden, Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano.

--LHP Sean Marshall starts Saturday against the Marlins, and manager Lou Piniella figures him to be good for five innings or about 80 pitches. It'll be Marshall's fourth start of the year, as he has spent most of this season in the bullpen.

The Cubs needed a spot starter because of this past Tuesday's rainout in Atlanta, which forced a doubleheader Wednesday. Marshall last started July 6, going six innings and picking up a victory in St. Louis. He's 1-2 in three starts overall this year.

--Mark DeRosa started at third base for the injured Ramirez. DeRosa hit his 14th home run of the season in the fourth inning. That establishes a single-season best for DeRosa in homers.

--RHP Kerry Wood earned his 25th save and his first since July 11 as he overcame a finger blister and back problems. Wood worked in his third straight game, and he'll get Saturday off, with RHP Carlos Marmol serving as closer.


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