MIAMI (AP) — Two days after Jeff Mathis was the center of a controversial play at the plate, he came up big for the Miami Marlins.
Mathis scored the winning run in the 10th inning of a 2-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night. He doubled to left to lead off the inning against Sam LeCure (1-3), advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Reed Johnson, and scored on a base hit to center by Christian Yelich.
"He’s a huge part of our team, he cares a lot, not only about winning, but the ball club," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "…So for him to come up there in that situation and get the big hit to start us off was huge and to score the winning run, I know that means a lot to him and I know he’ll sleep good tonight."
Mathis, who had a call at the plate overturned in Thursday’s 3-1 loss as replay officials ruled that he was blocking the plate, had another play at home in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game. Billy Hamilton hit a bloop single to left field and Mathis stayed back to wait for Yelich’s throw home as Ramon Santiago slid in safely to tie the game at 1-1.
"Back in the day, that guy’s out," Redmond said. "Next year he’ll be out."
After the inning, the typically mild-mannered Mathis was visibly frustrated in the dugout.
"Any time you give up the lead after a game like that with the outing that Nathan (Eovaldi) gave us is pretty frustrating," Mathis said.
The Marlins’ Mike Dunn (9-5) struck out two batters in the top of the 10th after Chris Heisey delivered a pinch-hit triple.
"There was the option to squeeze right there and that is something we thought about, but Billy (Hamilton) has been good with runners in scoring position," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "What we needed was a base hit."
Both starting pitchers, the Reds’ Homer Bailey and the Marlins’ Nathan Eovaldi, pitched seven innings and allowed one run.
The Marlins snapped a three-game losing streak overall and a seven-game skid to the Reds.
Yelich doubled in the third inning and Jordany Valdespin drove him home with a single to center to give the Marlins an early 1-0 lead.
Marlins All-Star Henderson Alvarez was placed on the disabled list on Friday, retroactive to July 30, with the hopes that he will just need the 15 days before his next appearance.
"It doesn’t appear to be a long-term thing, which is great news," Redmond said. "It’s just a matter of him just getting himself feeling good, feeling healthy and getting back to playing catch and throwing again."
Redmond added that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been dealing with a sore back, giving more opportunities to Mathis.
Mike Leake (8-9, 3.53) will start for the Reds in Sunday’s series finale against Jacob Turner (4-6, 5.69). Leake is coming off a win against Arizona on July 29, pitching 7 2-3 scoreless innings and striking out eight.
EOVALDI BOUNCES BACK
Eovaldi came into the game with an 0-2 record and 9.92 ERA in his previous three starts, but was sharp throughout allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out six.
"You could tell he was on a mission," Redmond said. "He carved through their lineup pretty good."
Eovaldi was pulled after giving up a lead-off single Santiago in the eighth.
"I wanted to stay in there really, I was really frustrated that I had to come out, but it’s baseball and (Bryan) Morris has been awesome for us," Eovaldi said. "We were able to come back and get the win and that’s all that matters."
BAILEY IN GOOD FORM
Bailey didn’t feel sharp early, but he was able to get positive results–something he’s done a lot of lately. Over his last six starts, Bailey is 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA.
Like Eovaldi, he would have liked to have gone further in the game.
"I would like to have gone eight (innings) but my .110 batting average just does not play very well."