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Marlins top Reds, forge tie for 2nd NL Wild Card

August 15, 2016

CINCINNATI -- The combination of Dee Gordon's speed and the power of Marcell Ozuna and Chris Johnson emerged Monday in the Marlins' 6-3 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.Ozuna and Johnson each belted solo home runs off Cincinnati left-hander Brandon Finnegan, and Gordon legged out a two-run

CINCINNATI -- The combination of Dee Gordon's speed and the power of Marcell Ozuna and Chris Johnson emerged Monday in the Marlins' 6-3 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
Ozuna and Johnson each belted solo home runs off Cincinnati left-hander Brandon Finnegan, and Gordon legged out a two-run single in the eighth that tacked on a couple of insurance runs after the Reds had trimmed a three-run Miami lead to 4-3. With the win, the Marlins pulled even with the idle Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot.
With Giancarlo Stanton likely out for the season with a Grade 3 left groin strain, the Marlins will be counting on manufacturing runs in various ways.

"I just think we'll have to do a little bit that way, instead of having Stanton's 40 homers in the lineup," Johnson said. "We're going to miss him, that's for sure. It's nice when he gets going, and he can kind of carry us for a while. We're going to have to do it as a team now."

Cincinnati's Scott Schebler belted a home run and drove in two runs. In the seventh, Miami shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria's throwing error on Tyler Holt's infield single allowed Tucker Barnhart to score.
Marlins right-hander David Phelps, who opened the season in the bullpen, gave up two runs with eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, his longest outing since a start against San Diego on July 25, 2015. The Reds, after falling behind 4-1, chipped closer on a single by Iván De Jesús Jr., and scored when Schebler walked with the bases full against reliever Hunter Cervenka.

"I had a lot of backwards K's tonight," Phelps said, referring to striking out players looking. "That usually gives me a good idea that I've got good fastball command."
The Marlins took a first-inning lead on Gordon's leadoff double, and Martín Prado capped a 12-pitch at-bat, which included five straight foul balls with the count full, with an RBI single. Cincinnati pulled even at 1 on Schebler's two-out homer to center in the second.

"They took advantage of some elevation pitches and got them up," Reds manager Bryan Price said of Miami's offense. "I'm sure they're tickled to death to be hitting here instead of hitting in Miami. It's a big difference there. They hit some balls good. A ball down the line that Johnson hit, that creeps over the right-field wall. Ozuna got one pretty good."
In the third, Miami manager Don Mattingly was ejected by home-plate umpire Bill Welke for arguing a check swing that was called a ball during Barnhart's at-bat. Bench coach Tim Wallach guided the team in place of Mattingly.

Mattingly ejected for arguing check-swing call
Prado's hits, diving stop: Prado gave the Marlins a first-inning lead, capping a 12-pitch at-bat with an RBI single. He added a triple and single on a three-hit night. But perhaps the biggest play of the game was turned in by Prado at third base in the eighth. With runners on first and second and one out, the Miami veteran made a diving stop on Tony Renda's sharp grounder, which appeared to be headed down the line for extra bases. But Prado recovered, and touched third base for the second out. Kyle Barraclough then retired Barnhart on a soft grounder to short. More >

"That's huge," Wallach said of Prado's stop. "If that ball gets by him, the tying run is at second base. We guard the line some there. Two outs, we definitely do. One out, you hate to give up a double play there, and give them a base hit and let that tying run get on. So we took a little shot there. He made a heck of a play."
Long hitless streak snapped: Schebler's homer not only got the Reds a run, it was sorely needed personally for the right fielder. The shot to center field on a first pitch from Phelps snapped a career-long 0-for-28 slump. It was Schebler's third home run of the season and second since being recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Aug. 2.

Power from first base: One reason the Marlins are exploring right-handed-hitting first base options, such as Alex Rodriguez, is because of the lack of power they've gotten from the position since Justin Bour went on the disabled list with a right ankle sprain July 6. Johnson provided the long ball for Miami in the fourth inning, delivering an opposite-field shot to right. It was just the second homer by a Miami first baseman since Bour's injury. Johnson's homer also came at a crucial moment, as it put his team ahead, 2-1.
Johnson capitalized on the short porch in right field. According to Statcast™, the ball traveled a projected 327 feet.

"It's not a homer at our place, that's for sure," Johnson said, regarding Marlins Park. "But, hey, I'm glad I hit it here and not at home."
Finnegan's night: Finnegan pitched 5 1/3 innings with four earned runs, seven hits, three walks, three strikeouts and two home runs in the loss that ended his three-game quality start streak. Five of the hits allowed went for extra bases, but Finnegan didn't feel like he was hit too hard.

"I made a lot of good pitches today," Finnegan said. "I threw a lot of strikes. They spit on some really good pitches. I just kept the ball down. I just had bad luck on two routine pop flies that somehow carried out. That's part of the game, part of this stadium."
"I've been going deep into games all year. I've had a handful of games that I haven't. It's not the fact that I haven't done it at all. It's just I've had two or three games that I haven't. That's just part of baseball. Everybody does it. There's not a pitcher in baseball that hasn't been through it. It's all right. I threw well. They just had a couple timely hits." -- Finnegan, who has two starts all season where he completed seven innings and none since June 9
"I know what we've got down in the bullpen. I've got more faith than most people in those guys. I was one of them 2 1/2 weeks ago. Those are my guys out there. It's the right now. I knew we were getting close to my count tonight. I wanted to go out for the sixth and get that last stop, and get that experience again in the sixth, and see what that feels like again." -- Phelps, on the 'pen picking up 3 2/3 innings, with Fernando Rodney getting the save

Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton exited the game before the top of the fifth because of a right knee bruise, according to the club. Hamilton ran into the wall in the third attempting to catch Prado's fly ball that would go for a triple. More >

Marlins: The Marlins are dipping into their system for a starter for Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. ET start. José Ureña (1-3, 6.69 ERA) has appeared in 19 games with three starts for the Marlins. The right-hander has been up and down this year, also making 12 starts at Triple-A New Orleans.
Reds:Anthony DeSclafani will face his former club when the series continues Tuesday. DeSclafani is coming off of his first loss of the season, after he gave up three runs and six hits over five innings vs. the Cardinals on Wednesday. Cincinnati is winless in his past three outings, but all three losses were decided by one run.
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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

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