Rapid Reaction: Cubs 5, Dodgers 4

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs opened a three-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday with a 5-4 victory.

HOW IT HAPPENED: The Cubs took an early lead with two runs in the first inning on RBI singles by Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro. David DeJesus doubled in a pair in the fourth. Paul Maholm, who had yielded two runs in his last two games, gave up three hits through six innings. One of them was Jerry Hairston's live drive home run. Maholm took a hard one-hopper off his leg in the sixth. He stayed in the game before being lifted for pinch hitter Joe Mather, who homered. Soriano added an RBI hit in the seventh. Kerry Wood allowed two runs in the eighth.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Cubs are 7-5 in their last 12 games after a miserable 3-11 start. The team averages five runs a game in wins and 2.6 in losses. Mather‘s pinch homer was the first by a Cub in 2012. Maholm has won each of his last three starts.

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Closer Carlos Marmol has lost his closers job after blowing three of five save opportunities this spring. James Russell and Rafael Dolis will share the role for now, although Russell gave up a run and two hits in two-thirds of an inning. Dolis picked up the save. An MRI showed a displaced fracture of the upper rib cage for catcher Steve Cleveanger, who told ESPNChicago.com that the fracture should not detour his return to the team from a strained right oblique.

OFF BEAT: Dale Sveum earned his first ejection as Cubs manager in the ninth inning. He came out after A.J. Ellis was hit by a pitch, but Sveum argued a previous ball-and-strike call and was run.

UP NEXT:: RHP Matt Garza (2-1 2.67 ERA ) faces LHP Chris Capuano (2.73 3-0) in game two of the series.