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).
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2017-18 record: 28-8, 7-2 Public League Red-North/West
Postseason results: Lost to Belleville West in Class 4A state title game.
Players to watch: The junior backcourt of Fenwick transfer D.J. Steward and Tyler Beard is potentially the best in the state as both players are consensus top-75 national prospects. Senior Myles Baker is poised for a big season after some strong play last season. Other seniors like Justin Warren and Keenan Jones are great role players who have helped win plenty of games.
Why they're in the power rankings: After falling just short of back-to-back Class 4A championships last season, Whitney Young reloads to replace departed seniors like Javon Freeman and Xavier Castaneda. It's rare a high school team loses two Division I prospects and replenishes with a backcourt that could be better, but that's the case here with Whitney Young. The Dolphins have the upside to be the state's best team this season.
Did you know? Whitney Young has been a state final qualifier seven times -- including five times under current head coach Tyrone Slaughter.
With so much parity in the NFL, every week on the schedule has close matchups. This weekend, though, the Bears and the Minnesota Vikings are expected to play the closest.
NFL experts trying to predict Sunday night’s matchup are torn on who they think is going to win, but Chicago has the slight advantage according to NFL Pick Watch.
55 percent of experts are picking the Bears to extend their NFC North lead, the closest margin of predictions for any game this week.
Even Monday night’s contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams has a larger majority supporting Jared Goff and company at 60 percent.
The analytics are also in agreement in support of Matt Nagy in prime time. Microsoft Cortana, FiveThirtyEight, Number Fire and Pro Football Focus analytics are all among the majority picking the Bears.
Our own J.J. Stankevitz predicts they could have statement game to establish themselves as a legitimate contender this season.
Chicago is favored by a slight margin on Las Vegas sportsbooks, but in the battle for first place in the division, anything can happen.