After finally breaking out of their season-long offensive funk, the Miami Marlins hope to build off that effort as they open a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs.
The Marlins will try to win consecutive games for the first time and give Kevin Slowey his first win in the majors since 2010 on Thursday night when they host a battle between last-place clubs.While Miami enters the contest ranked at or near the bottom of the majors in runs (56), home runs (six) and batting average (.221), the team put together a promising performance in an 8-5 win over Minnesota on Tuesday.The Marlins, last in the NL East at 5-16, matched their season high in runs and doubles (4) and had a season-best 16 hits to gain a split of their day-night doubleheader.Rob Brantly had three hits and a career-high four RBIs, while Giancarlo Stanton was 2 for 4 and two RBIs to lead the attack."We haven't had a game like this yet," said Stanton, who entered the game with just one RBI for the season. "It was good that we overcame the weather, too, to wake up the bats a little bit."The Marlins look to keep the bats going and finally plate some runs for Slowey (0-2, 1.90 ERA), who has allowed five runs over his 23 2/3 innings.Miami, however, has provided only one run of support over his first four starts.Slowey, who has battled through several injuries, has lost 10 straight decisions since beating Oakland on Sept. 18, 2010, while he was with Minnesota. He did not get a decision in a 2-1 win last Friday despite limiting Cincinnati to one run on four hits in six innings."This is certainly one of the best stretches I've had, feeling-wise," said Slowey, who won his only career start against the Cubs in 2009. "Nothing is bothering me."The Central-worst Cubs (6-14), who are 1-5 on their current road trip, have also had their share of struggles offensively. They've batted .207 over their last five games after being held to five hits in a 1-0 loss at Cincinnati on Wednesday.David DeJesus has fared well against Slowey dating back to his days in the American League, batting 7 for 20 with four doubles and a homer in this matchup.Chicago will try provide some scoring and solid defense for Jackson (0-3, 4.84), who was hurt by errors while allowing five runs -- one earned -- over six innings in a 5-1 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday.Cubs fielders haven't done many favors for their pitching staff, ranking among the worst defensive clubs in the league with 18 errors."We just have to make plays when we have a chance," said Jackson, who has only beaten the Marlins once in seven career starts. "It's just a matter of going out and doing it."New Marlin Miguel Olivo is 4 for 8 with two homers against Jackson, while third baseman Placido Polanco has gone hitless in 10 at-bats in this matchup.Miami won four of six between the teams last year, including a three-game sweep at Marlins Park last April.