Florida Marlins third baseman Jorge Cantu has been on a roll at the plate. His team would like to follow suit.
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With Cantu looking to accomplish something no other player has since the RBI became an official statistic in 1920, the Marlins will try to snap a two-game losing streak Wednesday when they host the Cincinnati Reds.
After grounding out and striking out in his first two at-bats in Tuesday’s 10-8, 11-inning loss, Cantu had an RBI single off Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo during the Marlins’ four-run fifth. The hit made Cantu the first player since George Kelly of the 1921 New York Giants to have at least one hit and one RBI in the first eight games of the season.
“Wow,” said Cantu, who is batting .303 with two homers and 13 RBIs. “I didn’t know that. Wow. I’m speechless. What a great accomplishment.”
Dating back to last season, the 28-year-old has a hit and an RBI in his last 12 games. His streak to open 2010 is the longest overall in the NL since Mike Piazza’s 15-game stretch with the New York Mets from June 14-July 2, 2000.
While Cantu is on the verge of history, the Marlins (4-4) are looking to get back on track after dropping two straight in extra innings to the Reds (5-3).
“I don’t know about the team, but I have a couple of headaches,” said Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team lost 6-5 in 10 innings Monday.
Right-hander Homer Bailey (0-0, 5.40 ERA) will try to give the Marlins’ skipper another one Wednesday when he gets the ball for Cincinnati, which is trying to win for the sixth time in seven games as this four-game series continues.
Bailey, though, struggled in Friday’s 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs. The 23-year-old gave up three runs and seven hits over five innings and also had two walks, two hit batters and a balk.
“No matter what was going on, there were times I felt like I couldn’t buy an out,” Bailey told the Reds’ official Web site after his 106-pitch outing.
In his only career start against Florida, Bailey matched a career high with eight strikeouts in a 4-3 home loss Sept. 18.
The Marlins counter with Chris Volstad (0-1, 2.84), who will try to slow down a Reds team that’s won all five of its games in its final at-bat.
“We’re the type of team that’s not going to give up,” said second baseman Brandon Phillips, who went 4 for 6 on Tuesday and followed Joey Votto’s go-ahead RBI single in the 11th with another run-scoring single.
Volstad will try to prevent Cincinnati from winning its second straight series. The 6-foot-8 right-hander, who allowed a team-high 29 home runs last season, held the Los Angeles Dodgers scoreless before allowing three seventh-inning runs in a 7-3 loss. Volstad went 6 1/3 innings, striking out two while giving up five hits.
In his only career start against Cincinnati, Volstad was tagged for four runs and seven hits in a 7-0 home loss May 5.
Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez had a season-high three hits Tuesday to improve his batting average to .387. He is hitting .438 with six homers and 15 RBIs in 15 career home games versus the Reds.
Votto went 3 for 5 on Tuesday and is batting .500 during a five-game hitting streak at Sun Life Stadium.