The pieces fell in the right places for the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night in South Beach as they topped the Miami Marlins by a final score of 5-2.
In what turned out to be Mat Latos’ first career win against the Marlins; he brought his ace stuff to the hill. Although, without the benefit of instant replay, Latos’ evening may have been drastically different.
During the bottom of the fifth inning, the Marlins must have felt completely wronged by the incomprehensible replay system once again. Garrett Jones had hit an infield tapper that would eventually score two runs on the field, but replay would prove that Latos beat Jones to the first base bag by the ever so slightest of margins.
Unlike contests previous to this one, the Reds bats came to some semblance of life. Scoring a whopping five runs (the most in any game since the All-Star break—or, two weeks), Latos would get the support that both he and his fellow staff mates have been begging for.
Although the end result would be five runs, it seemed early on that the club had missed a golden opportunity back in the fourth inning. Three straight singles from Billy Hamilton, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier gave them a run and runners at the corners with nobody out. The “middle” of their lineup would fail to come away with an RBI, leaving the gate wide open for a Miami comeback.
Marlins starter Jarred Cosart was cruising along through the front 5.1 innings, not walking a batter and allowing only the three consecutive hits to lead off the fourth. With the same suddenness of the meltdown in the fourth, Cosart lost command of the zone, walking two batters with a base hit sandwiched in between. This time, the Redlegs would not miss their chance.
Just twenty-four hours prior, Ryan Ludwick was being discussed as a potential trade chip for some other clubs pennant run, but he has proven over the last two games that he is an adequate member of a team looking to make a push. He would deliver the game-winning hit on Thursday, and then do the exact same on Friday.
Having switched pitchers, Ludwick fisted off a 96 MPH fastball from Miami reliever Chris Hatcher into left field for what would ultimately be a two-run double to once again break a 1-1 deadlock. Skip Schumaker, who got the start at second base, would drive in the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly in the next at-bat, giving the Reds a three-run inning, only their second since the break as well.
Seemingly invigorated by his good fortune of replay, Latos would retire the final seven batters he would face, being curiously lifted more than half a dozen pitches away from the century mark as the club led by three heading to the bottom of the eighth. All is well that ends well, and with Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman coming in, things usually end well for the Reds.
While Giancarlo Stanton would play long ball off Broxton to begin the eighth, the Reds would quickly negate his efforts in the top of the ninth by pushing a run right back across.
Pinch-hitting specialist Chris Heisey drilled a ball that more than likely would have caromed off the batter’s eye at Great American Ball Park, but would have to settle for a long double at Marlins Park. He would eventually come around to score on what was ruled a passed ball by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The score at that point would read 5-2, which would turn out to be the final.
It would be the 47th consecutive appearance with a strikeout for Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth as he retired the side in short order. Although he would give up a base hit, it would be quickly erased by a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.
With both St. Louis and Atlanta losing, the Reds picked up half a game in the National League Wildcard race, watching Pittsburgh jump into the second spot. Currently, they are only three games away from being in the exact same spot they finished last season.
The two aces set the tone for what is an importance series down in Miami. Now the Reds will look to Homer Bailey (who they believe is their third ace) to keep the momentum rolling. He gets the ball at 7:10 p.m. against Nathan Eovaldi down at Marlins Park.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds