CHICAGO -- The last-place Chicago Cubs are trending upward, but manager Rick Renteria insists he is focused more on the process than the results.
The Cubs won their fifth straight game Saturday, trumping the Miami Marlins 5-2 as Junior Lake hit two home runs and Jeff Samardzija pitched seven strong innings to earn his second victory.
The Cubs have won five in a row for the first time since May 26-31 of last year.
"The way I look at it is that the victories are the results. I'm still very much focused on how we are getting things done," Renteria said of the triumph before a crowd of 33,786 at Wrigley Field. "Wins and losses, they take care of themselves. I am consumed more in being gratified that right now the fans are having an opportunity to see the guys really click ... pick each other up."
The Cubs (25-34) received several unlikely contributions, including leadoff man Emilio Bonifacio's the first home run of the season. His third-inning shot gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead after Samardzija had singled.
"I love how we're playing right now as a team in all phases," Samardzija said. "To win you have to have all three or four phases of the game. I love the way we're swinging it right now. As a pitcher, it gives you a lot of confidence to pound the zone and get your offense back in the dugout."
Samardzija allowed two runs on five hits while striking out eight and walking one. His previous start against the Brewers -- the shortest (three innings) of his career -- was quite an aberration.
"I just put the last one behind me," Samardzija said. "That was a trap game for me from the beginning. I had just come off a win and was feeling good. I had battled so hard to get that first win, then all of a sudden I ran into the fan known as the Brewers at their place. I didn't have my best day, and they jumped all over it."
Lake now has eight homers in 183 at-bats this season. He had six in 236 at-bats last year.
"I am feeling good," Lake said.
He also hit a pair in a game last August against the Dodgers.
Samardzija knows firsthand how difficult it has been for him notch victories despite his stingy earned-run average of 2.54.
"I was talking to (Darwin) Barney and I feel what we're doing right now is really important for this team," Samardzija said. "We know we have a lot of young guys and we have battled for a long time.
"To feel this momentum and feel this calm that we have right now when everyone is having fun ... it's important. Especially for a young team, to keep that edge and at the same time have fun playing."
The Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the third when Christian Yelich hit his sixth homer.
Then Bonifacio answered with his two-run blow with Samardzija on base.
"I got to jog around the bases instead of having to (run hard) to score from first," Samardzija said. "Bonny has been a big player for us all year. He has played four positions. He has hit leadoff for us, and he had that great start.
"He comes to play every day. That's all you can ask for is that a dude is professional and does his job. And wouldn't you know, he gets repaid with a 3-2 (pitch) homer that puts us up one and allows me to relax."
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