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Fish Top Flailing Cubs

Amezaga amazing as Marlins win in Chicago

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    Alfredo Amezaga made a key defensive play in the ninth, doubled to lead off the 10th and scored the go-ahead run to help the Marlins beat the Cubs 8-2 in 10 innings last night.

    CHICAGO -- Alfredo Amezaga isn't a household name and Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez wants to keep it that way.

    Amezaga made a key defensive play in the ninth, doubled to lead off the 10th and scored the go-ahead run as the Marlins beat the Cubs 8-2 in 10 innings Thursday night.

    "Amezaga saved the game, no question, with that play up the middle," Gonzalez said. "He gets involved in everything. He's our little secret weapon. He can do so much."

    The Marlins started the season with a hot streak and they're ending April on another run.

    The surprise leader in the NL East won 11 of 12 to open the season, then lost seven straight. Now they're on a three-game winning streak after beating the Cubs behind Jorge Cantu's four RBIs.

    "A complete team win," Gonzalez said. "It was a solid performance from everybody. A lot of good signs."

    The Marlins took advantage of a struggling Cubs team that managed just five hits while committing three errors. Five Marlins had two hits apiece, including Amezaga and Cameron Maybin, who reached twice on errors, singled to left and drove in a run in the 10th with a bunt single.

    "Another great game," said pitcher Chris Volstad, who threw seven sharp innings. "We've been playing good baseball all year. Lets keep it going."

    Volstad's only mistakes came in the fifth when he gave up back-to-back home runs to Milton Bradley and Mike Fontenot.

    Jorge Cantu had a three-run double in the 10th after Florida tied it on a throwing error by Carlos Marmol in the eighth.

    Reynal Pinto (2-0) got one out for the win.

    The Cubs have lost seven of nine and are playing without injured third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Cubs manager Lou Piniella had to pinch-hit with Carlos Zambrano in the eighth and play catcher Koyie Hill at third in the 10th.

    "What am I supposed to do?" Piniella said of his team's struggles. "I can start changing lineups around and let my bench play. I can do that."

    Theriot committed two of the Cubs' three errors. The Cubs had just five hits and haven't scored more than three runs in any of their 11 losses.

    Amezaga led off the 10th with a drive off Aaron Heilman (2-1) that popped out of a diving Reed Johnson's glove for a double. Wes Helms walked before Amezaga scored when Theriot couldn't come up with Derrek Lee's throw to second for the force on Emilio Bonifacio's grounder.

    "When everything is going right, you're going to take advantage," Amezaga said. "I feel pretty happy that I helped the team."

    Maybin then laid down a perfect bunt to the first base side, scoring Helms.

    "When you play those games so tightly, late in the game it's usually a base on balls or an error that's going to crack the game open," Gonzalez said. "There's no secret about that. We were glad that we were able to take advantage of it."