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Urena, Marlins keep slumping Reds in check

MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Both the Reds and Marlins have been headed in the wrong direction while slumping coming out of the All-Star break. Miami, which had lost five of six games entering Friday, got a respite with its 3-1 victory at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati has now dropped seven of eight games since the second half began.

Jose Urena gave up one earned run and three hits over six-plus innings, Junichi Tazawa escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and AJ Ramos threw a perfect ninth to close out the Marlins' four-hitter.

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CINCINNATI -- Both the Reds and Marlins have been headed in the wrong direction while slumping coming out of the All-Star break. Miami, which had lost five of six games entering Friday, got a respite with its 3-1 victory at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati has now dropped seven of eight games since the second half began.

Jose Urena gave up one earned run and three hits over six-plus innings, Junichi Tazawa escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and AJ Ramos threw a perfect ninth to close out the Marlins' four-hitter.

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Video: MIA@CIN: Ramos retires Alcantara to earn the save

Following a one-hour, 47-minute rain delay before first pitch, the Marlins set out to a quick 2-0 lead vs. Reds starter Homer Bailey. Following a Dee Gordon single and a Giancarlo Stanton double to begin the game, the first run scored on Christian Yelich's groundout. Stanton scored on a wild pitch to Marcell Ozuna as he struck out.

Video: MIA@CIN: Stanton crosses the plate on a wild pitch

Bailey still turned in a quality start with six innings, two earned runs, eight hits, two walks and three strikeouts. Three of his first four innings ended with double plays.

• Amid up-and-down year, Bailey has good night

Video: MIA@CIN: Gennett, Cozart turn solid double play

Urena struck out four, but walked two and also hit Scott Schebler with a pitch twice, including one to start the third inning. Schebler eventually scored from third base on a Billy Hamilton sacrifice fly for Cincinnati's lone run.

"You've got to focus on putting the ball down, and most of the guys I know, they'll be aggressive," Urena said of pitching in the hitter-friendly park. "So I was using my two-seam [fastball] a lot. Get inside, get it close to them and make ground balls."

During the Reds' current skid, they have been held to two runs or fewer five times, while batting .221 as a team. Top hitter Joey Votto is in a 4-for-26 slump. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

"You can't force the result," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "You can't say, 'Well, today is the day I get four hits and break out of this.' The bats have to stay good. Chasing hits, you end up chasing borderline pitches or pitches that aren't in the zone or pitches you don't particularly like to hit, especially early in the count. ... We've got a mature enough club for the most part that we'll work our way through this."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Costly error: The Reds' defense was stellar most of the night, with an outfield assist by Hamilton and three inning-ending double plays. But one mistake proved costly. Gordon grounded into a potential inning-ending double play in the seventh with Wandy Peralta pitching.

Video: MIA@CIN: Rojas appears shaken up after an error

Scooter Gennett fielded the ball and fired wide to shortstop Zack Cozart, sending the ball into center field and allowing Miguel Rojas to go from first to third. Rojas scored on Yelich's two-out RBI single to make it a two-run game.

Video: MIA@CIN: Yelich bloops an RBI single into left field

Tazawa escapes jam: Urena hit danger in the Reds' seventh with a single and a walk. With one out, Tazawa walked pinch-hitter Devin Mesoraco to load the bases with one out. Tazawa got out of it as Hamilton grounded weakly to Gordon, who threw home for the forceout. Cozart followed by scorching a 2-0 pitch to left-center field, but it was caught easily by Yelich. Cincinnati was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Video: MIA@CIN: Gordon nabs Suarez at the plate in the 7th

"We hit a few balls hard, but they didn't go anywhere," Price said. "The ball that Cozart hit out to left-center with the bases loaded, on a lot of other nights in this ballpark, that ball carries to the wall, and maybe it's off the wall. But we played in the same circumstances as they did. We needed to come up with some big hits and just weren't able to do it." More >

Video: MIA@CIN: Tazawa retires Cozart to escape jam in 7th

QUOTABLE
"He was excited. He was screaming, 'Hit a homer now, hit a homer.'" -- Urena, on Ozuna, who cheered his pitcher on after Urena hit a fifth-inning double using the left fielder's bat

WHAT'S NEXT
Marlins: Chris O'Grady will make his third career start in Saturday's 7:10 p.m. ET game. O'Grady is 1-1, posting a 5.23 ERA and striking out 10 in 10 1/3 innings.

Reds: Robert Stephenson will be recalled from Triple-A Louisville to step into the Reds' rotation vs. the Marlins on Saturday. Stephenson struggled during his first big league stint of this season out of the bullpen. He was 0-2 with an 8.03 ERA and a 1.98 WHIP in 13 appearances, but at Louisville, the right-hander had a 3.79 ERA in eight games, including seven starts.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati who covered the Marlins on Friday.