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Early runs propel Miami to 4th straight series win

Special to MLB.com @benweinrib

CINCINNATI -- After a one hour and 13 minute rain delay, the Marlins knew they would need a great outing from their bullpen to preserve a win against the Reds. But with the way their bullpen was throwing, that wouldn't be an issue.

With Starlin Castro and Co. supplying the early offense, the Marlins were able to dispatch the Reds, 8-5, on Sunday at Great American Ball Park to win their fourth straight series.

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CINCINNATI -- After a one hour and 13 minute rain delay, the Marlins knew they would need a great outing from their bullpen to preserve a win against the Reds. But with the way their bullpen was throwing, that wouldn't be an issue.

With Starlin Castro and Co. supplying the early offense, the Marlins were able to dispatch the Reds, 8-5, on Sunday at Great American Ball Park to win their fourth straight series.

View Full Game Coverage

Miami gave itself early breathing room by taking advantage of several first-inning miscues by the Reds. Leadoff hitter J.T. Realmuto worked a four-pitch walk, and Martin Prado reached on a botched double-play attempt. A day after hitting his first home run of the season, Castro came through once again with a two-run single to left. Brian Anderson followed with a walk, Cameron Maybin drove in a run on a single, and Lewis Brinson brought in the final run on a groundout.

Video: MIA@CIN: Maybin plates Castro with an RBI single

The early lead helped former Red Dan Straily attack right out of the gate, and his only trouble came in the third inning on a Joey Votto home run to left. But, before he could fully get into gear, a sudden storm came in and delayed the game, ending Straily's night after just four innings.

"It's one of those game where you get out front early and they get back in it," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "You get a rain delay, and it's like almost starting over again, so you never know how the game is going to roll from there."

Although the Marlins surely would've appreciated a longer outing from Straily, their bullpen picked up right where they left off all series: silencing Cincinnati's offense. Nick Wittgren, Tayron Guerrero and Kyle Barraclough came out firing on all cylinders with one run allowed over four innings. Junichi Tazawa gave up two runs in the ninth inning, but Brad Ziegler came in to record the last two outs and earn his fourth save of the year.

Video: MIA@CIN: Ziegler strikes out Schebler for the save

"We're being aggressive, and that's the big thing," Ziegler said. "Pretty much the only time we're getting in trouble is when we walk guys. If we go after guys and stay on the offensive, then we have a really good chance to be successful. That's what we've been doing lately."

The Marlins' bullpen was lights out all series; it took the Reds 10 innings until they got their first run. Overall, the unit combined to hold the Reds to three runs on nine hits over 12 innings, with three walks and 10 strikeouts in the three-game set. It's a much-welcomed development, since the Marlins entered the game ranked 25th in the Majors with a 4.79 bullpen ERA.

"Our bullpen's been pretty good," Mattingly said. "We had a couple games early that we gave up, but for the most part we've kind of figured out four back-end guys with Tayron, [Drew] Steck[enrider], Claw, and Ziegler. Pretty consistent. Try to keep two of those guys available every game and find a way to get back to them."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Maybin makes them pay: Castro led off the seventh inning with a single to center and advanced to second on a passed ball. After Anderson struck out, the Reds opted to intentionally walk Justin Bour to get the right-on-right matchup with Maybin and potentially line up a double play. However, Maybin got his revenge with an RBI double down the left-field line to extend the Marlins' lead to three.

Video: MIA@CIN: Maybin rips a double to left, plates Castro

"It's nice, man," Maybin said. "Whenever you're in a situation like that, you don't really go up there with that [revenge] mindset, but after it's over with, it's always nice to come through in that situation. It's not always going to happen, but today was big. It was a big run. It means a lot."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Reds started a rally with two outs in the fourth inning, as Billy Hamilton picked up the second walk of the inning to bring up the top of the order. Jose Peraza hit a hard liner to the right side -- at 87.6 mph with a 51 percent hit probability -- but Bour came down with an outstanding diving catch. Bour was well-positioned with the infield shifted to the left, which had him playing far off the line.

Video: MIA@CIN: Bour robs Peraza with a diving snag at first

UP NEXT
The Marlins open a three-game series on Monday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field at 8:05 p.m. ET with left-hander Jarlin Garcia on the mound. Garcia has been lights out in his four starts this season, having allowed just two runs on 10 hits scattered over 23 innings. He threw six scoreless innings against the Cubs earlier this year with one hit, two walks and six strikeouts. The Cubs will send right-hander Kyle Hendricks to the mound.

Ben Weinrib is a contributor to MLB.com based in Ohio.

Miami Marlins