The Miami Marlins, possessors of the National League’s worst record, were the perfect medicinal tonic for the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.
After losing three straight over the weekend to the Pittsburgh Pirates, inhabitants of last place in the National League Central, the Reds opened a four-game series in Miami with a 6-3 victory.
It came on the strength of another light-switch pitching performance by Sonny Gray and a three-run down-range home run by Freddy Galvis.
It was achieved in front of what loosely could be called a crowd in Miami Park and against a team of ‘Who’s He.’ But after what happened over the weekend, the Reds will take whatever they can get.
Gray encountered some early command problems, walking four in the first two-plus innings and giving up a two-run home run to Neil Walker.
After Walker’s homer behind a walk gave the Marlins a 2-1 lead with no outs in the third, Gray buckled it up and retired 12 straight.
Nick Senzel, back in the lineup after a two-day rest, led off the fifth with a single, his second hit. Josh VanMeter walked. Galvis exploded his three-run home run the opposite way, over the left-center field wall, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead.
Two more home runs, one by Eugenio Suarez leading off he eighth and one by Phillip Ervin leading off the ninth made it 6-2. And Ervin’s home run came off a right handed pitcher, Kyle Keller.
After Gray retired 12 straight, he led off the seventh by walking Ison Diaz on four pitches, a hitter batting .170. When he gave up a single to Jorge Alfaro, only the second hit off Gray, his night was done.
Five walks mounted Gray’s pitch count to 102, but the bullpen completed his mission toward his 10th victory against six losses.
Michael Lorenzen replaced Gray. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners to third and second — the potential tying run on base. Lorenzen struck out pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson and coaxed an inning-ending ground ball from Jon Berti.
Fortunately the Reds owned a four-run lead when star-crossed closer Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth. He gave up a one-out home run to Jorge Alfaro and a one-out triple to Lewis Brinson.
He struck out pinch-hitter Martin Prado and struck out Jon Berti to finally end it.
Galvis, the player the Reds picked up off the waiver wire from the Toronto Blue Jays, collected three hits and drove in four runs.
The Blue Jays thought Galvis was expendable because of rookie Bo Bichette, whom they wanted to play shortstop.
They were right. In Bichette’s first 114 major league at bats he is hitting .351 with eight homers, 14 doubles and 14 RBI.
And the Reds say, “Thank you very much.” Galvis is hitting .404 for the Reds with four home runs, two doubles and 11 RBI in 47 at bats.
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