Marlins force extras, but Reds rally vs. Cishek
Hech, Ozuna help tie it ninth after Fernandez gem; closer falters in 10th
MIAMI -- One of Miami's bright spots last season is experiencing growing pains early on in 2013 like the rest of his teammates.
After a comeback effort in the ninth inning, closer Steve Cishek allowed three runs in the 10th as the Marlins fell, 5-3, on Thursday night to the Reds, who completed a three-game sweep in front of 16,680 at Marlins Park.
In the 10th, Cincinnati pinch-hitter Donald Lutz singled off Cishek (1-4), who then walked Shin-Soo Choo. Zack Cozart bunted both runners over before Cishek intentionally walked Joey Votto to load the bases. Brandon Phillips then sent a fly ball deep enough to score Lutz with the go-ahead run. Jay Bruce added a two-run double.
Three left-handed batters collected base-hits in Cishek's 1 2/3 innings, bumping their average to .324 (12-for-37) against the 26-year-old closer. Cishek, whose ERA jumped to 5.40, has just 17 appearances and six save opportunities so far this year. He had pitched four consecutive scoreless outings entering Thursday.
"Obviously it's one of those situations, he just seems to make a mistake up in the zone against lefties and they're making him pay," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "It looked like his last couple of times he's kind of turned the corner, but it's hard, too. He's not getting consistent reps. He's not getting to pitch that much."
Miami sent the tying run to the plate in the bottom half after pinch-hitter Matt Diaz produced an RBI single, but Juan Pierre grounded out to second. J.J. Hoover collected his third save for Cincinnati.
An inning earlier, Adeiny Hechavarria, who went 3-for-4, tripled to center with one out, chasing Reds starter Mat Latos. Closer Aroldis Chapman (3-1) got pinch-hitter Placido Polanco to strike out, but Marcell Ozuna tripled to straightaway center, driving in the tying run. Pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano stranded him there by striking out swinging.
Phillips' first-pitch homer -- his seventh of the season -- off right-hander Jose Fernandez sailed into the Clevelander in left field with two outs in the sixth to give the Reds a 2-1 lead.
"A sweep is good," Phillips said. "We wanted to win the game in nine, but a win is a win. This was a team effort. I'm proud of our team. We could have just put our heads down and just went with the flow. I'm proud of us because we went out and tried to get the job done."
Fernandez, who earned the no-decision after back-to-back victories, avoided further damage when Pierre made a diving catch into left-center to rob Todd Frazier of extra bases.
The 20-year-old rookie surpassed his previous career-high pitch count -- 86 -- with 99, which included an intentional walk over seven innings.
"I felt great, I feel normal," said Fernandez, who struck out five and walked three. "I'm glad I stayed in the game. I like to compete, and I know it's not going to happen every time and I respect that and that's what I work for. Whatever they want me to do, I do it and just keep putting good effort on it and give the team a chance to win."
The Marlins couldn't even it in the seventh with the bases loaded and one out when Jeff Mathis -- making his Miami debut -- grounded into a 5-2-3 double play.
Hechavarria reached on an infield hit, originally ruled a fielding error by the shortstop. Latos, who had retired 17 of 18 batters, then hit Derek Dietrich. Ozuna sacrificed both runners over. Latos -- a Coconut Creek High graduate -- intentionally walked Chris Coghlan to face Mathis.
After the game, Redmond said he did not consider pinch-hitting Rob Brantly -- a left-handed batter -- for Mathis because of the latter's nine years of big league experience.
Miami had taken a 1-0 lead in the first on Pierre's leadoff shot to right.
Two pitches after fouling off a bunt attempt, Pierre drilled a 2-1 pitch from Latos just over the wall. It marked Pierre's fourth career leadoff dinger -- the last of which occurred Aug. 28, 2006, against the Pirates.
Cincinnati tied it in the fourth on Bruce's two-out RBI single to left. He drove in Votto, who doubled to left with one out.
Just 40 games into the season, Miami has already been swept four times. The team fell to 7-5 when scoring first and 2-25 when trailing after eight innings.
"It looks tough, it looks ugly, but having gone through this stuff before, this is the type of stuff that makes you stronger for the rest of your career," said Pierre, who has 18 career homers in 14 seasons. "Nobody believes in you and you just keep fighting and fighting and nothing comes out of it, but you keep fighting and fighting, and eventually -- it might not even be this year -- but you remember these times."