By HAL McCOY
The Cincinnati Reds continued their parched-in-the-desert crawl toward the finish line Sunday afternoon in Marlins Park, another lethargic and lackadaisical loss to the Miami Marlins, 6-0, the fourth time they were shut out on the 10-game trip.
As broadcaster Chris Welsh said midway through the latest dismal effort, “The Reds are making the Marlins look like a top-level club in this series.”
The Marlins are not top-shelf. They are an on-the-floor team, owners of a worse record (62-93) than the Reds (66-91).
But after winning the first game of the four-game series, the Reds dropped three straight and scored two runs in the three games.
It was pretty much the modus operandi on the now concluded 10-game trip, a 3-and-7 record. Going 1-and-2 against the Chicago Cubs and 1-and-2 against the Milwaukee Brewers is understandable. Those teams are arguing over the National League Central title.
But going 1-and-3 against the Marlins is reprehensible.
And it looks as if the Michael Lorenzen audition was a one-game illusion. After he pitched extremely well in Milwaukee in his first start of the season, the Marlins committed assault and battery on him Sunday afternoon against the last place Miamians.
In four innings he gave up four runs and nine hits, walked two and didn’t strike out anybody.
And what is it about former Reds taking their three pounds of flesh from their former team? On Sunday, it was back-up catcher Chad Wallach, who had a cup of coffee without cream last season with the Reds. He had three hits, ripped a three-run home run and punched a run-scoring single to drive in four runs.
His father, former major league star infielder Tim Wallach, witnessed it from the Marlins dugout as a coach. He saw his son hit his first major league home run.
On the other side, the Reds could do nothing against Miami pitcher Trevor Richards, who came into the game with a 3-and-9 record and a 4.95 earned run average, a pitcher the Marlins rescued from the independent Frontier League.
He held the Reds to no runs, three hits, one walk and nine strikeouts over his seven innings.
For the trip, the Reds scored 12 runs in 10 games and were shut out five times. And Reds pitchers gave up a respectable 35 runs (3.5 a game).
As usual, Scooter Gennett had one of the four hits the Reds scraped and is hitting .315, while Milwaukee’s MVP candidate, Christian Yelich had two hits, including a three-run home run, and is hitting .322.
Lorenzen was in constant turmoil. The first two Marlins in the first inning singled, but a double play kept them off the board.
They loaded the bases with two outs in the second, but Lorenzen squirmed out of it with an inning-ending ground ball.
It all unspooled in the third when Lorenzen issued a one-out walk to Starlin Castro. Lorenzen got a second out but didn’t escape this time.
Brian Anderson singled to put runners on third and first and Lewis Brinson beat an infield single to deep short to score a run. Wallach then unloaded his 407-foot home run to center field and it was 4-0 and the Reds were dead.