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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Reds Play Spoiler But Marlins Fresh In Series Opener

The Reds started a 10-game homestand against wild-card candidates in the Miami Marlins. The visitors from Miami opened the four-game series with a 6-3 win.

Brandon Finnegan got the ball for the Reds.

Finnegan came into the game with two quality starts in a row against the St. Louis Cardinals, winning a 7-0 contest in which he pitched six innings, then allowed three runs in six innings to the Cardinals in St. Louis on Tuesday in a no-decision.

The left-hander started slowly.

Dee Gordon opened the game with a double and promptly scored on Martin Prado's single.  Billy Hamilton saved him with a fine running catch of Marcel Ozuna's fly near the Reds' bullpen in left centerfield.

Scott Schebler hit his third homer of the season off Marlins' starter David Phelps which snapped an 0-for-28 slump.

Finnegan worked out of a jam in the third when Prado tripled with one out.  Hamilton ran into the wall and jammed his shoulder on the play.  Christian Yellich drew a walk but Ozuna hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

Chris Johnson's fifth home run scraped the fence in the rightfield corner to put the Marlins ahead again.  Ozuna led off the sixth with his 20th home run to center.  Hamilton's replacement Tyler Holt could only watch.  Finnegan walked J.T. Realmuto, who scored on Johnson's double.  Finnegan was replaced by Jumbo Diaz

 "They took advantage of some elevation pitches," Bryan Price said.. "I bet they are tickled to death to be hitting here instead of their own ballpark."

Finnegan felt he pitched well enough.

 "I made a lot of good pitches today," Finnegan said.  "I had bad luck on two routine fly balls that carried out. I've been going deep into games all year. There were just a few games that I didn't."

 The Reds inched closer in the bottom of the sixth against three Marlins pitchers.

Ivan De Jesus Jr. singled with one out.  Joey Votto walked facing Brian Ellington.  Out out later Ellington walked Eugenio Suarez.  Hunter Cervenka, a leftield came in the game to face lefty hitting Schebler and walked in the run.  Dustin McGowan struck out Joe Renda to end the threat.

Tucker Barnhart hit his 18th double to open the seventh against McGowan.  Pinch hitter Kyle Waldrop struck out but Holt hit a ground ball up the middle that Marlins' shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria stopped from going into centerfield with dive.  The throw to get Holt at first was wide and ended up out of play as Barnhart scored to make it 4-3.   De Jesus grounded out to move Holt to third.  Mike Dunn relieved McGowan to face Votto, who grounded out to end the inning.

The Marlins loaded the bases with two outs against Blake Wood with two walks and an infield single.  Dee Gordan hit a ground ball fielded by Votto, who had to back up on a high hop.  His under hand feed to Wood covering caused Wood to miss first.  Gordon was credited with an infield single as Johnson and Hechavarria scored on the play.  Schebler made a diving catch of Prado's bid for a fourth hit off Ross Ohlendorf to end the inning.

 "We got into a bind in that inning," Price said. "We had a bang, bang play at first and they had some speed on the bases."

 Billy Hamilton ran into the fence twice chasing down fly balls and left after the sixth innings with a contusion on his knee.

"Billy has a contusion. He ran into the wall twice. Basically, the entire side of his body from his shoulder to his knee is a contusion. The knee was more prominent."

"He is a gold glover. He takes a lot of pressure off you," said Finnegan of Hamilton.

The Reds threatened again in the eighth against Kyle Barraclough.  Adam Duvall reached on an error by Hechavarria.  Suarez singled to set the Reds up with no outs.  Schebler took a called strike on a 3-2 pitch. Tony Renda smashed the ball down the thirdbase line but Prado turned it into force at third with a diving stop.  Barnhart grounded to short to end the inning.

"We made a couple of pushes against their bullpen pieces," Price said. "Phelps was very good."

Fernando Rodney walked Zack Cozart pinch hitting but struck out De Jesus and Votto to earn his 21st save. He had 17 with San Diego before being traded to Miami.

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