If the Florida Marlins want to remain wild-card contenders, they’ll need to find a way to win in Cincinnati.
The Marlins look to avoid a 10th straight road loss to the Reds when the teams continue their weekend series Friday night.
After winning two in a row and the series at NL Central-leading St. Louis, Florida (78-69) fell 3-2 at Cincinnati on Thursday to open this four-game set with its third loss in five contests.
The Marlins, who have lost 11 of their last 14 against the Reds overall and haven’t won at Great American Ball Park since April 18, 2006, are five games behind wild-card leader Colorado.
“We’re a resilient team,” manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Marlins’ official Web site. “They forget tough losses quickly and go on to the next game.”
Cincinnati (68-79), meanwhile, has won four straight overall and a season-high eight in a row at home.
Despite Florida’s recent struggles against Cincinnati, All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez(notes) is batting .362 lifetime against the Reds. Trying to become the Marlins’ first batting champion, Ramirez is hitting an NL-leading .356 after going 1 for 4 and driving in his 100th run Thursday.
Ramirez became the ninth Marlin to drive in 100 runs in a season.
Ramirez’s double-play partner Dan Uggla(notes) had an RBI double and is batting .314 during a season-high nine-game hitting streak. The second baseman is a career .333 hitter at Great American Ball Park.
“Rarely do you score three in the first like that and get no more and end up winning,” said Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker, whose team is in the midst of its longest home winning streak since taking nine in a row May 7-28, 2008.
Bruce, who returned Monday from a two-month stint on the disabled list with a broken wrist, is a .300 lifetime hitter with six RBIs against the Marlins.
The right-hander had been 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in his four previous outings.
“He was throwing the ball as well as I’ve seen him,” Baker said of the 23-year-old Bailey.
The right-hander has not received a decision in his last two starts, as the back injury forced him to leave without a decision after allowing one run in four innings of a 4-2 victory over the New York Mets on Sept. 8.
“Nothing serious,” VandenHurk told the Marlins’ official Web site of his injury.
In his only previous start against Cincinnati, VandenHurk gave up two runs in six innings, but didn’t receive a decision in a 9-3 win over the Reds on July 22, 2007.