Cubs drop fourth straight

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Cubs drop fourth straight

MIAMI (AP) Hanley Ramirez homered for the third game in a row, Mark Buehrle pitched eight innings for his first victory with Miami and the Marlins beat the slumping Chicago Cubs 9-1 on Wednesday night.

Ramirez put the Marlins up 4-0 with a two-run homer in the fifth inning. He started the season slowly, but in the past four games has gone 9 for 16 with nine RBIs to hike his average from .133 to .283.

Ramirez hit a walk-off RBI single in the 11th inning Sunday, and broke an eighth-inning tie with a three-run homer in Tuesday's victory. He has four homers after hitting only 10 last year, when he struggled with injuries and a prolonged slump.

Buehrle (1-2), one of the Marlins' offseason All-Star acquisitions, allowed one run and six hits while pitching at Marlins Park for the first time. He also had an RBI single, only the sixth career hit for the longtime American Leaguer.

With the retractable roof open for the second night in a row, Donnie Murphy put Miami ahead with a two-run homer in the third. The hit came in his fourth at-bat this season.

The Marlins didn't homer until their 31st inning in the new ballpark. They now have five at home and six on the road. They've given up one at home and eight on the road.

Miami improved to 2-0 since manager Ozzie Guillen returned from a five-game suspension. The Marlins are 6-6 overall, while Chicago is off to a 3-9 start, with four consecutive losses.

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Today on CSN: White Sox face Athletics in spring training game

Today on CSN: White Sox face Athletics in spring training game

The White Sox will battle the Oakland Athletics today, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins at 3:05 p.m.

Today's starting pitching matchup: Carlos Rodon vs. Kendall Graveman

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Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

It wasn't pretty, but the Blackhawks found a way to pick up another two points and improved to 6-0-1 over their last seven games, and 18-3-1 over their last 22.

With Minnesota's loss to Philadelphia, the Blackhawks have taken an eight-point lead for first in the Central Division and are only two points away from the Washington Capitals for home-ice advantage throughout the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.

Let's take a look at Quick Hits from the 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night:

What Worked: The finish and shootout. While the Blackhawks scored the game's first goal, it was another slow start by a team that has had a few of those over the last several outings and has preached working on turning in more of a complete effort. They recorded only 14 shots on goal in the first two periods, and it took more than six minutes after Patrick Kane's goal to record their next one.

But they finished on a positive note yet again, and went 2-for-3 in the shootout thanks to Kane and Artemi Panarin, who potted the game winner. Kane said after the game that he tried his move on Scott Darling during morning skate and it worked. So he went with it tonight in an effort to snap a mini shootout drought and he did.

What Didn't Work: Controlling the puck. The Blackhawks seemingly have the puck more than their opponent does almost every game, but it doesn't reflect in the shot department because they often look for the perfect pass or shot and fail to record one at all. They had 50 shot attempts with 26 of them on goal compared to the Stars' 64 attempts with 44 on goal. They know they must get better at that.

Star of the game: Corey Crawford. After allowing four goals on only 10 shots in Tuesday's overtime loss to Vancouver, the Blackhawks netminder bounced back in a huge way. He matched a season-high with 42 saves, and recorded his 30th win of the season.

He Said It: "He played amazing tonight. Reason we won the game. Hats off to him, he's done that a lot this year. For a goalie it's probably tough to show up every night, even the goals he let in last game you can't put all the blame on him, but he was outstanding tonight." — Kane on Crawford's performance

By the Numbers:

167 — Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked one shot in the win, and it was enough to set a new career high in that department, previously established during the 2010-11 campaign (166).

15 — Trevor van Riemsyk assisted on Marian Hossa's goal in the third period, giving him a career-high 15 points on the season in 50 games. He had 14 points in 82 games last year. He also extended his point streak to three games.

6 — With the victory, Crawford has earned at least 30 wins in six of his seven NHL seasons as a full-time starter. The only time he didn't reach that mark was during the lockout-shortened year in 2012-13 when he went 19-5-5.