J Pat Carter, Associated Press
MIAMI — Hanley Ramirez homered for the third game in a row, Mark Buehrle pitched eight innings for his first victory with Miami and the Marlins beat the slumping Chicago Cubs 9-1 on Wednesday night.
Ramirez put the Marlins up 4-0 with a two-run homer in the fifth inning. He started the season slowly, but in the past four games has gone 9 for 16 with nine RBIs to hike his average from .133 to .283.
Ramirez hit a walk-off RBI single in the 11th inning Sunday, and broke an eighth-inning tie with a three-run homer in Tuesday's victory. He has four homers after hitting only 10 last year, when he struggled with injuries and a prolonged slump.
Buehrle (1-2), one of the Marlins' offseason All-Star acquisitions, allowed one run and six hits while pitching at Marlins Park for the first time. He also had an RBI single, only the sixth career hit for the longtime American Leaguer.
With the retractable roof open for the second night in a row, Donnie Murphy put Miami ahead with a two-run homer in the third. The hit came in his fourth at-bat this season.
The Marlins didn't homer until their 31st inning in the new ballpark. They now have five at home and six on the road. They've given up one at home and eight on the road.
Miami improved to 2-0 since manager Ozzie Guillen returned from a five-game suspension. The Marlins are 6-6 overall, while Chicago is off to a 3-9 start, with four consecutive losses.
The Cubs' Matt Garza (1-1), who pitched 8 2-3 shutout innings in his last outing, lasted only five-plus frames this time. He allowed seven hits and six runs.
Emblematic of the Cubs' performance was a lackadaisical effort by left fielder Alfonso Soriano on a routine single by Donnie Murphy, who kept running when Soriano lobbed the ball in, turning the hit into a double without even drawing a throw.
The Cubs went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. They hit into two double plays and have grounded into six in the series.
One bright spot for Chicago: Marlon Byrd had a single and hiked his average this season to .081 (3 for 37).
The Marlins totaled 14 hits. Gaby Sanchez had three, including an RBI double in Miami's three-run seventh. He then scored on Buehrle's single.
Murphy hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth for his third RBI of the night.
Notes: Murphy played in place of 2B Omar Infante, who was held out of the starting lineup because of a sore groin that has bothered him for several days. He's also expected to sit out Thursday. ... The Cubs have scored a total of seven runs in their past four games. ... Ramirez committed his first error since moving to 3B. ... The last time Ramirez homered in three consecutive games was in early May 2010. ... Buehrle improved to 6-4 in 14 starts against the Cubs. ... Attendance was 25,723.
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