Derrek Lee led off the 10th inning with his 21st home run to lift the Cubs to a 9-8 victory over the Marlins in a game Kevin Gregg would rather forget.
Lee connected on a 2-0 pitch from Leo Nunez (3-4) to help the Cubs keep pace with the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat the Houston Astros to maintain a half-game lead in the National League Central.
Gregg, pitching in Florida for the first time since he was traded to the Cubs, struck out the first two batters in the ninth, but pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino homered to make it 8-6. Chris Coghlan and Nick Johnson both singled, and both scored on Emilio Bonifacio's triple over center fielder Kosuke Fukudome to tie the game.
The Cubs cut back batting practice because of the heat and came out swinging. Ramirez smacked his double in the first, and then broke for third during Milton Bradley's at-bat. Catcher John Baker's throw sailed into left field and Ramirez scored on the error. Lee hit a two-run single in the second and scored on Ramirez's RBI single to make it 6-0.
The Cubs' other key hit was delivered by Ryan Theriot, who did not start because Lou Piniella wanted to give him a day off. He smacked a two-run triple with two outs in the ninth.
Ramirez was hit by a pitch in the left side after Lee's homer and stayed in the game, but left later in the inning.
The Cubs had to go deep into their bullpen after starter Carlos Zambrano lasted three innings because of stiffness in his back. Piniella had gone to the mound to talk to Zambrano when the Marlins had one on and two outs in the third, but the pitcher finished the inning. He threw 62 pitches.
Zambrano also hit Hanley Ramirez on the left knee in the third, and the Marlins' shortstop had to leave the game with a contusion.
The Marlins had closed to within 6-5, and threatened again in the eighth. Carlos Marmol, who took the loss Friday, created a mess when he loaded the bases with one out in the Marlins' eighth, throwing 17 pitches, only three for strikes at one point. But Dan Uggla was called out on strikes and Marmol got Jeremy Hermida swinging to end the inning.