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Cubs Seek Fourth Straight Win In Florida

(Sports Network) - Veteran righty Ryan Dempster makes his 14th career appearance against his first big-league team tonight when the Chicago Cubs visit the Florida Marlins in the opener of a three-game series at Sun Life Stadium.

A 33-year-old Canadian, Dempster debuted for the Marlins in 1998 and stayed through 2002, when a midseason deal sent him to the Cincinnati Reds. He was a full-time starter in his stint with Florida, winning 14 and 15 games, respectively, in 2000 and 2001. Dempster pitched for the Reds through the end of 2003 and came to the Cubs in 2004, spending four seasons as a closer before transitioning back to a starter's role in 2008 and winning a career-best 17 games.

Dempster picked up win No. 13 of 2010 and 100 of his career on Sept. 11 at Milwaukee, twirling seven scoreless innings in a 1-0 Cubs triumph.

He is 2-1 with three saves with a 2.00 earned run average against the Marlins.

Florida counters with rookie right-hander Alex Sanabia, who returns from a five-game suspension.

The 22-year-old, who was penalized for his role in the Marlins brawl with the Nationals on Sept. 1, has pitched into the sixth inning in each of his past five starts.

Hes 4-1 with a 3.88 ERA as a starter and has never faced the Cubs.

In his most recent appearance, on Sept. 10 at Washington, he tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed three hits in a 3-1 victory.

Sanabia is 1-2 in five home outings in 2010.

On Wednesday in Miami, Raul Ibanez finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and scored twice as Philadelphia completed a sweep of Florida with a 10-5 decision in the finale of a three-game series.

Gaby Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a solo homer, two RBI and scored twice for the Marlins, who were coming off a sweep of Washington but have dropped six of nine. Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla also knocked in a run each in defeat.

Jorge Sosa (2-3), making a start for the first time since 2007, lasted just 2 1/3 innings and was charged with six hits and six runs -- four earned -- with three walks in defeat.

In St. Louis, Tyler Colvin belted a go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh and Aramis Ramirez added a two-run shot an inning later, as the Cubs completed their first three-game sweep in St. Louis since 1988 with a 7-3 decision over the free-falling Cardinals.

Chicago, behind another solid performance by Carlos Zambrano, played spoiler to its rival, setting St. Louis eight games back of the NL Central-leading Reds, whose magic number for the division title is 10.

Zambrano (9-6) allowed just two runs -- one earned -- on four hits and three walks in six innings to win his sixth straight decision. The right-hander struck out three and improved to 6-0 with a 1.80 earned-run average in seven career starts at Busch Stadium.

Florida took two of three from the Cubs back in May.