By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — With the two worst starting staffs in the National League and two of the most prolific offenses, it was expected that the Miami Marlins-Cincinnati Reds game Friday night in Great American Ball park would provide more in-game fireworks than the post-game fireworks.
But as former major league pitcher Joaquin Andujar once uttered, “I’ll say it in one word — youneverknow.”
There were no in-game fireworks and due to the lateness of the game after a rain delay, the regular Friday night post-game fireworks were canceled.
Just a bummer of a night all around.
THE TWO HIT-RICH AND pitch-poor teams pitched good but didn’t hit and the Marlins pulled out a 3-1 victory.
Maybe it was because the game’s start was delayed an hour and 47 minutes by rain and the hitters got tired of waiting around.
Or maybe starting pitchers Homer Bailey for the Reds and Jose Urena for the Marlins were just that good.
Whatever it was, the two starters engaged in a good old fashioned pitcher’s duel.
Bailey gave up two runs in the first inning and then nothing more over his six innings (eight hits, two walks). But Urena was much better, giving up one run and three hits hits in six-plus innings.
BAILEY, NOW 2-AND-4, WAS a victim of some bad luck that involved softly hit balls.
“It was a really weird game,” said Bailey. “We we’re unfortunate in the first with some flares and softly hit balls. We made some really good pitches and they hit balls that just cleared our infielders and fell in front of our outfielders.”
Even though it was a loss, it was a sharp outing for Bailey.
“With the delay I thought we did a really good job. Sometimes you just get beat,” said Bailey.
Three times in the first four innings Bailey wriggled free of trouble with double plays and said, “Sometimes when you make a good pitch good things happen. We were fortunate at times but very unfortunate at the start of the game. This year is going to be an up-and-down battle and there isn’t much I can do about it. I’ll keep taking the ball and compete with what I have that day.”
URENA’S ONLY PROBLEM was that he obviously didn’t realize that Scott Schebler entered the game 0 for 11 and 1 for 20. He hit him with pitches twice and walked him once.
Schebler scored in the third inning after getting hit by a pitch, scoring on Billy Hamilton’s sacrifice fly — the only run off Urena.
The Reds twice left the bases loaded without scoring. Urena retired the first two in the fourth, then walked Scooter Gennett, gave up an infield hit to Eugenio Suarez (it should have been an error) and hit Schebler for the second time. But Tucker Barnhart lined out to right field.
Urena gave up a single to Suarez to open the seventh and walked Schebler. And he was finished for the night.
With Junichi Tarawa on the mound, Barnhart bunted the runners to third and second. Pinch-hitter Devin Mesoraco walked to fill the bases with one out.
Hamilton forced Suarez at home and Zack Cozart flied to deep center and the Reds failed to score again.
“We weren’t able to do much,” said Reds manager Bryan Price. “We hit a few balls hard that didn’t go anywhere. That ball Cozart hit with the bases loaded on a lot of other nights in this ball park it would have been off the wall.”
And no home runs were hit. Miami’s Big Three of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Osuna and Jason Bour owned 76 home runs. Cincinnati’s Big Three of Joey Votto, Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall owned 68 home runs.
But none left the park Friday.
The Marlins nicked Bailey for two runs in the first when Dee Gordon led the game with an 0-and-2 singled to left and took third on Giancarlos Stanton’s double to the left field corner.
Gordon scored on a grounder to second and Stanton scored on a double by Justin Bour.
The third run was unearned due to a throwing error by Scooter Gennett, who has won the every day second base job away from Jose Peraza.
With one out and a runner on first, Gordon grounded to Gennett — an easy inning-ending double play normally. But Gennett’s throw evaded shortstop Zack Cozart and Migeul Rojas took third. He scored from there on Christian Yelich’s two-out single to make it 3-1.
MIAMI CAME TO TOWN losers in five of its last six, but pinned the seventh loss in eight games on the Reds since the All-Star break.
Miami was coming off a three-game series against the les miserables Philadelphia Phillies, a series in which they lost two and inflamed Stanton.
“If we lose a series to one of the worst teams in baseball, what does that say about us?” he said.
Well, at least they are one step on in this three-game series against another of the worst teams in baseball.
On the positive side, Billy Hamilton threw a runner out a home plate to save a run in the sixth. Marcell Ozuna opened the inning with a double. With one out, J.T. Realmuto singled to center. Hamilton charged the ball and threw a one-hop strike to Tucker Barnhart to wipe out Ozuna.
“Our outfielders are doing a phenomenal job,” said Price. “Our outfielders are the top three in defense and it shows up every day. We’re leading the league in outfield assists.”
Of the one-run, four-hit night, Price said, “We needed to come up with some big hits and we weren’t able to do it.”