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MIA@CHC: Lee crushes grand slam to pad Marlins' lead

CHICAGO -- Run support, a problem all season for Anibal Sanchez, wasn't an issue on Tuesday night.

Carlos Lee belted a grand slam, while Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez also homered, and the Marlins cruised to a 9-5 win over the Cubs before a crowd of 34,397 on a 94-degree night at Wrigley Field.

Sanchez (5-6) entered the night with the lowest run support average in the Majors among pitchers with at least one inning pitched per team game. Miami had scored 2.61 runs per nine innings when the right-hander is on the mound.

"I feel good. The team helped me," Sanchez said. "Like I told you every time, I don't have any problem with [run support]. I just try to keep the score down, waiting for the team's help. That's part of the game. I never complained about it. Everybody wants to do their best. Today it helped me. That was important for me."

The three-homer night provided some needed relief after the Marlins were held to just eight runs total in their four-game series with the Nationals.

"Little by little, hopefully, we start getting better," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We got big hits. Carlos has been taking over in RBIs especially, doing a tremendous job going out there and bringing those guys in. We're going to need more of that. You can see what happened late in the game. We had to bring everybody in.

"Hopefully we go out there and be more consistent and make it interesting."

With ample room for error, Sanchez gave up two runs (one earned) while striking out seven in seven innings.

"Anibal threw the ball very well, maybe the best he's thrown the ball in a while," Guillen said. "One thing about it, when we make a mistake behind him, come back and shut it down. Most of the time when somebody makes a mistake behind him, you see him lose a little bit of the concentration and get wild and make a bad pitch. I think today he went out and made the right pitch at the right time."

The Marlins led 8-0 and 9-2, but the Cubs made it interesting in the eighth, scoring three runs off Chad Gaudin. But lefty Randy Choate prevented further damage, getting Anthony Rizzo to bounce into a 3-6-1 double play.

"I expect Chad to do well," Guillen said. "He hasn't pitched in I don't know how many days -- 12, 13 days, I don't know. I think it was the right spot to put him. He had a tough night, but this kid, overall, has been throwing the ball pretty good.

"[Choate] should be ready for tomorrow. Why not? I don't think we have to shut him down right away."

The Cubs actually had 13 hits to Miami's 12, but home runs accounted for seven of the Marlins' runs.

"We put together some hits," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "We just couldn't break it open when we got guys on, first inning, first and second. That was kind of a key [point] in the game. First and second, after [Travis Wood] shut them down in the top of the first, things could've changed there."

Wood entered the game with a string of 14 2/3 scoreless innings at Wrigley Field, and he bumped that up to 17 2/3 before the Marlins' bats came alive.

Wood held the Marlins hitless through the first three innings, but the left-hander wasn't able to make it through the fifth.

Miami rocked him for three runs in the fourth inning. Lee singled and scored on Austin Kearns' two-out single. Infante delivered a two-run homer, his eighth of the season.

In 2011, Infante had seven homers in 148 games. His eighth shot this season came in his 80th game.

Wood wasn't able to make it out of a five-run fifth inning. Miami sent 10 to the plate, with Sanchez starting things off with a single. Lee delivered the crushing grand slam, his first home run since being obtained by the Marlins on July 4 from the Astros.

Lee's slam was the 17th of his career, which is second among active players to Alex Rodriguez's 23. Rodriguez and Lou Gehrig share the MLB record.

Lee is tied for the seventh-most grand slams in MLB history with Jimmy Foxx and Ted Williams.

"In that situation, less than two outs, honestly I make sure I don't hit the ball into the ground," Lee said. "Try to stay on the inside, get the ball in the air. At the worst, if I don't get it done, give the guy behind me a chance. That's all I try to do -- not to hit it on the ground."

It was the Marlins' third grand slam of the season, with the other two by Giancarlo Stanton.

After a Ramirez double and a Kearns flyout, Wood was replaced by Rafael Dolis, who yielded an RBI single to Infante.

Jeff Baker's home run off Sanchez in the fifth inning put the Cubs on the board.

Ramirez went deep in the seventh inning, giving him 14 on the season and second in as many games.

"The ballpark was carrying the ball pretty well here," Guillen said. "You don't take a chance with this park."

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