Marlins' offense finds their stride against Reds
CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Miami Marlins went from struggling to get just one hit to trying for one more record-setting hit -- quite an overnight change.
Giancarlo Stanton led Miami out of its early slump, getting three hits and driving in three runs, and the Marlins beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-3 on Saturday night for their first victory of the season.
Omar Infante, Hanley Ramirez and John Buck homered for the Marlins, who managed a total of one run and seven hits while losing their first two games.
"No problem," Ramirez said. "The first couple of days, I was feeling good anyway. It wasn't a big deal."
This one nearly ended with a little Marlins history.
Infante had a double and a triple to go along with his homer. Given a chance to become the first Marlin to hit for the cycle, Infante flied out in the ninth inning.
"Lucky day, you know?" Infante said. "I wanted that (cycle). I want to cry."
Still a whole lot better than the Marlins' first two games.
Stanton, who went by the name "Mike" when he hit 34 homers last season, provided the go-ahead runs with a bases-loaded single off Mat Latos (0-1).
Ricky Nolasco (1-0) gave up six hits in eight innings, including Joey Votto's first homer since signing a new contract with an additional 10 years and $225 million. Zack Cozart had three of Cincinnati's hits with a single, triple and solo homer.
The crowd of 41,662 gave the Reds a pair of sellouts to open the season for the first time since they moved into Great American Ball Park in 2003.
Miami's pitching has been exemplary in the first three games. The offense has been the problem.
Manager Ozzie Guillen went around the Marlins clubhouse before the game and told his hitters to calm down and not try to do too much at the plate, a lineup-wide problem during the first two games.
Advice heeded. The Marlins calmed down and broke out against the Reds' biggest offseason acquisition.
Reds gave up a package of four players, including a pair of first-round picks and starter Edinson Volquez, to get Latos from the Padres in the offseason. His first start in Cincinnati was a disappointment.
"A new ballclub, a new season, I wanted to do well for the fans," Latos said. "When runners got on base, I tried to be too perfect. Instead of locating my fastball, I tried to be too fine. I was trying to be too perfect with my new ballclub."
Stanton's RBI double in the fourth ended the Marlins' streak of 13 scoreless innings and provided their first lead of the season.
Infante led off the fifth with Miami's first homer of the season. Stanton's single with the bases loaded drove in two more for a 4-2 lead, ending Latos' outing. The Marlins stole three bases off Latos, who gave up seven hits and walked two.
Ramirez's two-run shot off Sam LeCure in the seventh made it 6-2 and gave Miami its first double-digit hits game. Buck hit another two-run shot in the eighth.
"It's nice to see those guys swinging the bat and building a little confidence," Guillen said.
The day started roughly for Guillen, who apologized for telling Time magazine that he loves Fidel Castro and respects him for surviving as Cuba's leader for so long. The club also issued a statement saying there is "nothing to respect" about the dictator.
NOTES: The Reds presented 2B Brandon Phillips and 1B Votto their 2011 Gold Gloves before the game. ... Josh Hutcherson, a native of Union, Ky., and star of "The Hunger Games," threw a ceremonial pitch that hopped the plate. He also received a bat from Phillips. ... Carlos Zambrano makes his first start for the Marlins in the final game of the series on Sunday against Bronson Arroyo. Zambrano is 10-3 career in Cincinnati. He struggled with his control in his last two spring training outings. "I'm concerned about it," Guillen said. ... Arroyo will be trying to keep the ball in the park. He gave up a club-record 46 homers last season.