A successful series at Miami last weekend helped the Cincinnati Reds get back on track from their roughest stretch of the season.
The Reds look to record a fourth consecutive victory and continue their success against the visiting Marlins on Friday night.
Cincinnati (59-56) totaled 24 runs while losing 10 of 12 following the All-Star break, but has won six of eight since. That surge began by outscoring the Marlins 16-8 while taking three of four at Miami.
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"We know that we have a better club than has performed, and now those performances are starting to take place with a little more consistency, and hopefully that’s enough for us to make a confident run these last six, seven weeks of the season," manager Bryan Price told MLB’s official website.
The Reds have averaged 5.1 runs while winning 10 of 12 overall against the Marlins (55-59), who have dropped 19 of 25 at Great American Ballpark.
Cincinnati’s Mike Leake (9-9, 3.46 ERA) allowed three runs in six innings but still earned the win in a 5-4 victory in his first start against the Marlins in 2010, then yielded one over 12 2-3 innings while winning the next two. He overcame four walks and allowed that run in six innings of a 7-3 victory at Miami on Sunday.
The right-hander has conceded only that run and eight hits over 13 2-3 innings in winning his last two outings.
After losing 7-1 at Cleveland on Monday, the Reds outscored the Indians 21-5 to win the final three of the home-and-home set. Homer Bailey threw seven strong innings while rookie Kris Negron had two hits and an RBI during Thursday’s 4-0 home victory.
Negron, who has seen time at second base while Brandon Phillips recovers from a thumb injury, is 7 for 13 with five RBIs in the last three games. He went 6 for 30 with four RBIs in the previous 13 since making his season debut July 12.
"He’s a guy that seized the opportunity," Price said about Negron, who played four games for the Reds in 2012.
Two of Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton’s three hits in 15 at-bats this season against the Reds are home runs. He’s 1 for 6 with three strikeouts against Leake.
Stanton also is 3 for 15 in the last four games, but one of those hits left the park during Thursday’s 7-2 loss at Pittsburgh.
Miami’s Nathan Eovaldi (5-6, 4.22) is 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA in his last seven starts, but allowed a run and two hits through seven innings of Saturday’s 2-1, 10-inning win over the Reds. The right-hander allowed 18 runs and 21 hits over 16 1-3 innings while going 0-2 in his previous three outings.
"You could tell he was a man on a mission. He carved through their lineup pretty good," manager Mike Redmond told MLB’s official website. "That’s the stuff that we know he has. It’s really just about consistency."
Cincinnati catcher Brayan Pena went 0 for 3 against Eovaldi on Saturday, but recorded a hit later in that contest and is batting .375 during an 11-game hitting streak.
Miami reliever Dan Jennings suffered a concussion after he was hit in the head by a line drive Thursday and was to remain in the hospital overnight.