Dale Sveum pushed some buttons, trying to jolt a team that looked a little too comfortable.

One week after the manager called out his players – letting the media run with the idea that franchise first baseman Anthony Rizzo and All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro could be benched or even shipped to Triple-A Iowa – the Cubs have looked sharper.

Even with Sunday’s 6-4 loss to the Miami Marlins, the Cubs left Little Havana with the sense that they had weathered a three-city, 10-game road trip. They bounced back from an ugly sweep in Milwaukee and heard the “Nobody’s exempt” declaration in Cincinnati.

Sveum would settle for a 4-6 trip, even if the second-year manager wasn’t sure whether or not there was a cause-and-effect or if his words had impact.

“I don’t know,” Sveum said. “Whenever you do anything like that, it either goes one way or the other. You never really know in baseball. Obviously, we’ve played better. We’ve made many more plays. The starting pitching’s been the same. The bullpen’s been much, much better. We had some more timely hitting.

“The overall game now is obviously much better.”

The Cubs (9-15) don’t have a difference-maker like Giancarlo Stanton, and the Miami star heated up with the roof closed at Marlins Park, crushing two homers and driving in the game-tying run with a line-drive single in the sixth inning. Moments later, Donovan Solano hit a bullet off Carlos Villanueva and past Castro to make it a 4-3 game.