Another display of top-drawer pitching set the stage for a win if the Marlins could plate a couple of runs. For the fourth time this season, the bats came through. Kevin Slowey, Chad Qualls, Mike Dunn, and Steve Cishek held the Reds to one run and five hits. Newcomer Nick Green made a splash by going 3-4 on the night, but the icing came from Justin Ruggiano’s fourth bomb of the season, off of the deadly Aroldis Chapman.
Cincinnati jumped into the lead with an RBI by Joey Votto in the first inning. The Marlins answered in the third with an RBI single by Placido Polanco that drove Green across. From then on, it was a nail-biter as Marlins fans sat with bated breath to see how the pitchers would fare.
Slowey went six innings, giving up a run, four hits and a walk while striking out four. It only took him 82 pitches to clear the six innings, which works out to a bit over 13 ½ pitches per inning. Chad Qualls faced the next four batters, with one walk and ond strikeout. Mike Dunn came in and struck out the next two batters to close the eighth. Cishek finished the night, but he gave up a hit in the process.
Ruggiano capped off the offense by outwitting phenom closer Aroldis Chapman. Exercising patience, he waited for the devastating high cheese signature strikeout pitch, and dropped it over the fence for the go-ahead run in the ninth.
There were a couple of potential Marlins runs that didn’t score, but it was manager Mike Redmond’s aggressive baserunning strategy that was as much a factor as any failure of the players. Donovan Solano tried to stretch a Polanco single into an RBI, but Jay Bruce’s weaponized shoulder prevented the run.
Last night’s game extended Slowey’s streak of two or fewer earned runs per outing to four, yet he has yet to tally a win. As the Marlins bats improve, his stats should benefit.