CINCINNATI (AP) — Brandon Phillips didn’t want to let his bobblehead day go by without doing something good.
He didn just that with a game-ending sacrifice fly in the 13th inning, giving the Cincinnati Reds a 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Saturday.
Facing Steve Cischek (1-2), Miami’s seventh pitcher of the game, Shin-Soo Choo led off the 13th with an opposite-field liner down the left field line that bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, his sixth time on base in seven plate appearances — he walked three times. Zack Cozart sustained an apparent right-hand injury while trying to bunt, getting hit on his index and middle fingers with the pitch. X-rays were negative, he said after the game.
Cesar Izturis pinch-hit for Cozart and moved Choo to third with a fly ball to center field. Joey Votto was intentionally walked, and Phillips lofted the fly to center field.
“It’s a beautiful thing when you get the game-winning sacrifice fly on your bobblehead day,” said the Reds second baseman, who leads the team with 20 RBIs. “It took long enough. I’m tired as hell. I didn’t want it to take that long. I was happy with the win. Choo gets us started. I try to finish it.”
Votto had four hits, including his first home run in Cincinnati in almost 10 months, as the Reds picked up their major-league leading ninth home win and fifth victory in their last six games since a five-game losing streak.
They had to overcome going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and leaving 17 runners on base, the most since they left 17 runners on against Philadelphia in a 19-inning game on May 25, 2011. Manager Dusty Baker was happy to see his team finally cash in on an opportunity.
“The key is opportunities,” he said. “We wanted to win long before that. That was a big get-’em-over Izturis had — huge. Brandon did what he’s supposed to do.”
Alfredo Simon (1-1) retired the Marlins in order to get the win.
The Marlins had their own opportunities, manager Mike Redmond pointed out. They went 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
“We threw it all out there,” Redmond said. “We had a couple chances to win that game and went for it. It is the same old story. We couldn’t get the big hit.”
Votto led off the third inning against left-hander Wade LeBlanc with a 353-foot line drive into the right field seats adjacent to the visitors’ bullpen on a 2-0 pitch, giving the Reds a 1-0 lead. The homer was his second of the season and first at Great American Ball Park since June 24.
Votto lined a two-out single to right field in the fourth inning to drive in Devin Mesoraco for a 2-0 lead. Mesoraco led off with single, moved to second on Arroyo’a sacrifice and, after Choo walked, went to third on Cozart’s fielder’s choice to shortstop Nick Green.
The Marlins tied it in the fifth against Bronson Arroyo. Miguel Olivo led off with a double down the left field line, went to third on Donovan Solano’s single and scored on Joe Mahoney’s first major league hit, a single as a pinch-hitter for LeBlanc.
Juan Pierre then lined out to third baseman Todd Frazier, who caught Mahoney off first for a double play, but Placido Polanco came up with a tying double to left.
LeBlanc allowed seven hits and two runs with three walks and two strikeouts in four innings.
“My day was terrible,” LeBlanc said. “The silver lining is that I kept it close enough so we could tie it, but I needed to save the bullpen, and I did the opposite.”
Arroyo, who was 1-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 14 career appearances against the Marlins coming in, allowed six hits and two runs with one walk and a season-high six strikeouts in eight innings.
“Bronson pitched a heck of a game,” said Baker, whose pitchers have allowed two runs or fewer in six consecutive games, the longest stretch since a six-game streak from July 10 through July 19, 2010. “He kept some pretty good hitters off balance.”
NOTES: The crowd gave Arroyo a standing ovation after a message on the video board said that his second-inning strikeout of Justin Ruggiano was his 1,000th with the Reds. Arroyo finished the game with 1,004 strikeouts in his Cincinnati career, passing 1960s LHP Jim O’Toole for ninth place in franchise history. … Olivo, who spent most of spring training with the Reds as a non-roster player, started at catcher for Miami. … Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton snapped an 0-for-7 skid, five-strikeout slump with an infield single in the fourth inning. … Mesoraco’s fourth-inning throwing error snapped at 10 the Reds streak of consecutive error-free games, dating back to the sixth inning on April 8 at St. Louis.