Choo homers twice; Leake, Reds blank Fish
Leadoff man has four hits, righty escapes jams, Cincy wins fifth straight
MIAMI -- Shin-Soo Choo's second multi-homer game of the season helped power the Reds to their fifth straight win and a series victory over the Marlins.
Choo went 4-for-5 with two home runs to push the Reds past the Marlins, 4-0, before 14,866 at Marlins Park on Wednesday night.
"He was awesome tonight," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He was a little upset about his performance last night, but he did something about it tonight. He hit the ball all over the field. That was some night."
Reds starter Mike Leake also had a solid showing, tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings. The right-hander gave up nine hits and had a batter reach base in six of the seven innings he pitched in, but kept Miami off the board.
"They hit a few balls hard, but some of them weren't hit too hard," Leake said. "I was definitely out of the stretch quite a bit. Being a ground-ball pitcher, you're going to find holes and give up hits. There are definitely games that it happens. They found the right places and hit it where they ain't."
But Leake was able to pitch out of trouble all night, preventing all 11 runners that reached base against him from scoring.
"As long as you don't let them cross home plate, that's all that matters," he said. "People are used to us striking everybody out. Sometimes you've got to play defense."
The Marlins had a tough time defending Choo on Wednesday night. The Cincinnati center fielder entered the game with one hit in his last 11 at-bats, but he has thrived against Miami. He led off the game with a single and scored on a Brandon Phillips double.
"It's been pretty tough over the last two weeks," Choo said. "I have had a couple good games before, but I've had a lot of swings and misses. I was not feeling great going into today."
Choo's night was just getting started, as he followed the first-inning hit with a single in the second inning and solo homers in the fourth and sixth. The four-hit performance was the seventh in Choo's career.
"He's tough," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "He's just one of those guys we haven't been able to figure out. I think we've done a fairly good job of holding the others down, but he's that guy. He wasn't red-hot coming into the series, but we found a way to heat him up."
Choo improved his average to .571 (12-for-21) in six games vs. the Marlins this season, and he's 5-for-5 in his career against Miami starter Alex Sanabia.
Choo's fourth-inning, opposite-field homer off Sanabia sparked a two-run frame. Cesar Izturis followed the blast with a double and scored on a Joey Votto single that extended the first baseman's hitting streak to 10 games and gave the Reds a 3-0 lead.
"Early, we left some runners out there that we thought could possibly come back to haunt us," Baker said. "But we added some runs later thanks to Choo and Joey."
Cincinnati's leadoff man added a solo shot in the sixth inning to collect his ninth career multi-homer game and give the Reds a 4-0 lead.
"Tonight, I hit the ball on the barrel of the bat," Choo said. "Last night, I had some swings that I missed on because I was a little bit out in front. Tonight, I was able to fix that. Opposite field is my approach, but I just reacted tonight and put the barrel on the ball and hit it in the sweet spot."
Sanabia struggled with Choo and his teammates, surrendering four runs on nine hits over six innings.
While Sanabia labored, Sean Marshall, Sam LeCure and Aroldis Chapman followed Leake's lead to help the Reds complete their fourth shutout of the season.
"The 'pen had a good night, with Marshall getting a very tough hitter out, and then Sam LeCure came on in the eighth and Chapman finished it in the ninth," Baker said. "It's always nice to throw a shutout."