Dietrich's two homers help Nicolino win debut
CINCINNATI -- Marlins lefty Justin Nicolino threw seven scoreless innings in his Major League debut and Derek Dietrich belted two home runs to lead Miami to a 5-0 victory over the Reds from Great American Ball Park on Saturday. The win snapped the Marlins' three-game losing streak and the Reds' three-game winning streak.
Nicolino gave up only four hits and two walks while striking out two in seven innings. The 23-year-old called up from Triple-A New Orleans prior to Saturday night's matchup to replace scheduled starter Tom Koehler, who missed his start because of neck stiffness.
Nicolino matched the mark for the longest outing by a Marlins pitcher in his MLB debut, tying Brad Penny (April 7, 2000). No starter in franchise history threw as many as seven shutout innings in his debut.
"Much needed," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. "We needed that shot in the arm. He provided it, and the offense stepped up and made the most of the six hits that we had."
Not only was the win on Saturday the first of Nicolino's career, but it also came against former Double-A Jacksonville teammate and roommate Anthony DeSclafani.
DeSclafani cruised early on but ran into trouble in the fourth inning to pick up his first loss in his last six starts. DeSclafani dropped to 5-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts this season.
"He made some pitches that he'd like to have back and they took advantage of them," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "That's what good hitters do. Not so much that they are out there hitting a bunch of great pitcher's pitches, they take advantage of the mistakes that the pitcher makes, and he had some elevation mistakes, a slider backed up a couple of times on him."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Nicolino's first strikeout: The knock on Nicolino is he doesn't compile big strikeout numbers. At Triple-A, the lefty fanned 45 in 78 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old made his first big league strikeout count on Saturday. With the game scoreless in the third inning, the Reds had a runner on third and two outs, and Nicolino struck out Joey Votto. Catcher J.T. Realmuto brought the ball back to the dugout for his starter.
"That was big, to go after Votto. The kind of hitter that he's been. The way he executed the pitches, moving him off the plate, then working him away. It was just a great outing," Jennings said. More >
Dietrich energizes offense: In each of the first four games of their road trip, the Marlins failed to get a hit in the first three innings. Miami's first hit off DeSclafani game in the fourth when Dietrich blasted a homer to right to lead off the inning. Statcast™ projected the shot at 438 feet. It started off a three-run inning. Dietrich wasn't done with the long ball, connecting on his second homer of the night, a laser over the wall in right off Manny Parra in the seventh. It was the first multi-homer game of Dietrich's career. Dietrich was the first Marlins hitter other than Giancarlo Stanton to have a multi-homer game since Garrett Jones, May 23, 2014 vs. Brewers.
Disco struggles against former club: DeSclafani held the Marlins hitless through the first three innings, but that changed in the fourth. The rookie right-hander gave up one home run, two doubles and a single as the Marlins took a 3-0 lead. DeSclafani finished the game with three earned runs on four hits, three walks and one hit by pitch in five innings pitched.
"I just missed, I fell behind in counts and made a mistake on a pitch to Dietrich," DeSclafani said. "They just put some good swings on the ball." More >
Reds come up empty: Trailing 3-0, Eugenio Suarez doubled off Nicolino to the right field corner with one out in the bottom of the fifth. However, the double would go to waste as pinch-hitter Chris Dominguez lined out to left fielder Christian Yelich and Billy Hamilton lined out to shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to end the scoring threat.
"That's a conversation we'll visit. You know, these are good problems. That's what we've talked about this winter, is hopefully we have some of our young guys step forward with these veterans and somewhere over the course of this season. It will create tough decisions. That's a good position to be in." -- Jennings on whether Nicolino will stay in the rotation if Koehler is ready for his next start
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
DeSclafani and Nicolino were roommates last year when they were teammates at Double-A Jacksonville to start the 2014 season. They also were part of the Nov. 19, 2012 trade between the Marlins and Blue Jays. Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto caught both last year at Jacksonville, a team that won the Southern League title.
Marlins: David Phelps (4-3, 3.96) closes out the series and five-game road trip for Miami on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET. The right-hander has won two straight starts, posting a 1.20 ERA in 15 innings in those games. Phelps is 1-0 (2.16) in two games with one start against the Reds.
Reds: Michael Lorenzen (2-2, 3.70) will take the mound for the Reds in the three-game series rubber match on Sunday. Lorenzen gave up two runs (one earned) in six innings pitched to pick up a victory in his last start on Tuesday against the Tigers. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. ET.
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