J.T. Realmuto helps Marlins overcome another delay, hold off Reds
CINCINNATI (AP) — On a steamy night, J.T. Realmuto gave the Marlins just enough to win another one.
The catcher hit a pair of two-run homers and a double on Saturday, powering Miami to its second straight victory, 5-4 over the slumping Cincinnati Reds. The Marlins won for only the third time in eight games, getting its first back-to-back wins since the All-Star break.
Realmuto connected in the second and sixth innings off Robert Stephenson (0-3), who made his first start of the season after 13 relief appearances and faded in the heat. It was the catcher’s second career multi-homer game — he also had one in 2015.
“He’s getting better,” manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s still working on his swing — that’s going to get better. But you see what he can do. He’s going to be one of those guys.”
Nick Wittgren (3-1) relieved starter Chris O’Grady in the fifth and got the win. Scooter Gennett singled home a run in the eighth off Junichi Tazawa, cutting it to 5-4. A.J. Ramos pitched the ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.
The Reds are having a horrific home stand, going 1-8 while getting out-homered 22-7. The 22 homers are the most allowed by a Reds club during a home stand of 10 games or fewer. Also, the Reds have matched another club record by allowing 69 runs during the home stand, which concludes Sunday.
“We needed the big hit and we weren’t able to get it,” manager Bryan Price said. “We had some unproductive at-bats, but they made some plays, too. We had plenty of chances.”
The high humidity and 87-degree heat got to both starters.
“About the sixth inning, I started getting tired,” Stephenson said. “I didn’t feel like myself.”
O’Grady struggled in his third career start. The left-hander walked three consecutive batters in the first inning, including Adam Duvall with the bases loaded. Patrick Kivlehan homered in the fifth, tying it 3-3. O’Grady walked six in 4 2/3 innings.
“I had a lot of trouble gripping the ball,” O’Grady said. “That’s something I’ve never experienced before. I had to use resin — that’s something I’ve never done in my career. With the humidity, sweat was dripping down my arm and getting onto the ball.”
The start of the game was delayed because of a storm in the area, but the forecast was wrong and it never reached the ballpark — the grounds crew didn’t even cover the infield. The first pitch came an hour late. Mattingly didn’t mind.
“The last thing you want is your starter heats up, you play half an inning, and there’s a 45-minute delay,” Mattingly said.
Ichiro Suzuki had a pinch-hit single in the ninth, his 3,057th career hit. He’s 23rd all-time. Next is Craig Biggio at 3,060. … The Reds have allowed 168 homers overall this season, most in the majors and on track to break their major league record of 258 allowed last year. … Joey Votto was 0 for 3 with two walks, hit into a pair of double plays and took a called third strike for the final out. He’s 4 for 29 on the home stand and hasn’t driven in a run.
Cincinnati optioned RHP Ariel Hernandez to Triple-A Louisville to open a roster spot for Stephenson.
Marlins: SS JT Riddle was out of the lineup for the second straight game with a sore left shoulder, reinjured when he dived for a ball on Wednesday. Mattingly said there’s no thought of putting him on the DL: “As long as we can try and buy him a few days, we’re OK.”
Reds: RF Scott Schebler was hit by pitches twice on Friday night, but that’s not why he was out of the lineup. He got a day of rest to try to help him emerge from a slump. He pinch hit and grounded out, leaving him 1 for 24.
Marlins: RHP Tom Koehler (1-4) faced the Reds last season, giving up three runs in four innings. He’s 0-1 career against the Reds in two starts and two relief appearances.
Reds: RHP Sal Romano (1-2) makes his fourth major league appearance. In his last start Tuesday against the Diamondbacks, he gave up six runs in four-plus innings.
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