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MIAMI (AP) – Ozzie Guillen made a victorious return to the dugout Tuesday night, when pitchers Josh Johnson and Heath Bell snapped out of early-season slumps to help the Miami Marlins beat the Chicago Cubs 5-2.
Guillen returned from a five-game suspension imposed after his comments praising Fidel Castro caused a backlash in South Florida, especially among Cuban Americans.
Johnson allowed two runs in seven innings and Bell earned the save after four rocky outings. Streaking Hanley Ramirez broke a 2-all tie with a three-run homer in the eighth, his third.
No demonstrations targeted at Guillen were evident, although a screaming fan in the second deck did call the Marlins manager an insulting name several times midway through the game. There were boos when Guillen ran onto the field to complain about a call in the seventh inning, but they were directed at the umpire.
Some fans had pledged to stay away in protest. Announced attendance was 24,544, by far the smallest in five games at the Marlins’ new ballpark.
The game was tied at 2 when Jose Reyes reached on an error by second baseman Darwin Barney to start the Miami eighth. Reyes took second on a passed ball and Emilio Bonifacio walked. Ramirez, who had a game-ending single in the 11th inning Sunday, followed with a homer off Rafael Dolis (0-1).
Ramirez has gone 8 for 12 in the past three games to hike his average from .133 to .286.
With the retractable roof open on a 76-degree night, both teams struggled for runs much of the way. The Marlins went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position, while the Cubs grounded into four double plays.
Johnson had a solid outing for the first time in three starts, lowering his ERA from 8.38 to 5.94. Steve Cishek (1-0) pitched a hitless eighth and has yet to allow run in eight games.
Bell, an All-Star closer acquired during the Marlins’ offseason spending binge, pitched a perfect ninth for his first save in three chances.
The Cubs’ Ryan Dempster remained winless in 12 starts since Aug. 16 even though he lowered his ERA to 1.33. He pitched six innings and gave up two runs, both unearned because of his throwing error.
The Cubs, who fell to 3-8, have scored a total of four runs in Dempster’s three starts.
The Marlins took the lead with two unearned runs in the fifth. After Gaby Sanchez doubled, Johnson hit a chopper to the left of the mound. Dempster backhanded the ball but rushed his throw, which sailed past the first baseman, allowing Sanchez to score.
Johnson took second and came home on a two-out single by Bonifacio.
The Cubs scored first in the fourth inning on singles when Barney and Starlin Castro singled and Alfonso Soriano had an RBI groundout. Chicago tied the game in the seventh when Steve Clevenger doubled and came home on a single by Bryan LaHair.
NOTES: The Cubs’ Marlon Byrd went 0 for 3 and is off to a 2-for-34 start (.059). … Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton was dropped to sixth in the order and remains without a homer in 38 at-bats. … The Cubs won’t face former teammate Carlos Zambrano in the series. He’s slated to start Friday at Washington. … Marlins Park is the 119th ballpark in which the Cubs have played.
(© 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.)