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Dempster, Cubs snap Marlins' win streak

Jul 15, 2011 - 11:08 PM Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Ryan Dempster sparkled in eight shutout innings, striking out nine batters, and the Cubs snapped the Marlins' six-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory Friday afternoon.

Dempster (7-6) allowed just four baserunners, all on hits, but closer Carlos Marmol struggled to shut the door in the ninth.

After he gave up a two-out run, Sean Marshall fanned Mike Stanton to end the game and earn his second save.

The Cubs scored two runs on a routine pop-up by Alfonso Soriano in the fourth inning that dropped between Omar Infante and Stanton in right field.

"One of those things where you can't put the blame on anybody," said Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco, who took the loss because of the miscue. "It just happened."

In the ninth, Marmol walked the leadoff man Infante and gave up a one-out hit to Hanley Ramirez. But Marlon Byrd gunned Ramirez down at second base with a strong throw from center, catching the Marlins shortstop trying to stretch a single into a double.

It potentially saved a run. Logan Morrison followed with a single to right, scoring Infante to make it 2-1 and prompting Cubs manager Mike Quade to yank Marmol.

Marshall retired Stanton on four pitches, getting him to swing at a curveball for the final strike to end the game.

The Cubs, who lost the opener of this four-game series 6-3 on Thursday, improved to just 4-8 in July.

Dempster had them on the cusp of only their third shutout of the season -- they have an MLB-low two -- after throwing 78 of his 117 pitches for strikes and rarely finding trouble.

He gave up a double to Nolasco in the third and a single to Emilio Bonifacio in the sixth. Florida got a pair of two-out hits in the eighth -- singles by John Buck and pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs -- to put runners at the corners.

But Dempster escaped, getting Bonifacio on a bouncer to second base. The 34- year-old righty pushed his record above .500 for the first time this season.

It was Dempster's first start since he threw five innings to beat the Pirates last Saturday but got into a shouting match with Quade after the manager pinch-hit for him in the sixth.

Quade said Friday that Dempster's pitch count, as well as the level of effort it took him to get through the eighth inning, were enough to send Marmol to the mound against the Marlins.

"It was one of those rare occasions where I believe we were in agreement," Quade said, referring to Dempster and winking at their argument last weekend.

Nolasco (6-6) was a hard-luck loser, allowing just two unearned runs and seven hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out seven.

"He pitched a hell of a game," said Marlins manager Jack McKeon. "Actually, right now if you look at the game we're ahead 1-0 (in earned runs). But I guess those things happen."

Carlos Pena singled and Byrd doubled to put two Cubs runners in scoring position with one out in the fourth. After striking out Geovany Soto and getting Soriano to pop up harmlessly to shallow right, Nolasco probably thought was out of trouble.

But he wasn't.

Soriano's pop-up dropped in between second baseman Infante and right fielder Stanton, allowing both runners to score easily. Neither fielder was very close to putting a glove on the ball -- Infante had his up, but took it away at the last moment, while Stanton pulled up short of the ball, letting it hit the grass.

"One of these days the defense will save the game for us," said Nolasco. "It always evens out."

Game Notes

The Cubs upped their mark to 6-1 in Dempster's last six starts (he is 3-1)...Nolasco fell to 2-2 in his last four starts and 2-5 in his last 10...Both teams left five runners on base.