After roughing up the Marlins ace, the rebounding Reds hope to make it back-to-back victories Saturday night at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati (65-51) was swept out of first place by the St. Louis Cardinals this week, and Reds manager Dusty Baker was handed a two-game suspension stemming from Tuesday’s bench-clearing brawl.
But the Reds bounced back Friday night with a 7-2 win against Florida’s Josh Johnson(notes), who entered the game leading the majors in ERA. Cincinnati tagged Johnson for six runs and 10 hits - both season highs for the right-hander - in 3 2-3 innings, a season low.
Bruce and Scott Rolen(notes) each ended droughts Friday for the Reds, who remained one game behind the Cardinals. Bruce homered for the first time since June 30 and added three RBIs, while Rolen went 3 for 4 with two RBIs after going hitless in 10 at-bats against the Cardinals.
“I was happy to get better swings at better pitches,” said Rolen, who had gone nine games without driving in a run. “I was not getting good swings in the St. Louis series.”
Cincinnati’s Mike Leake(notes) (7-4, 3.75 ERA) will be trying to rebound from the shortest outing of his career. The right-hander lasted 3 2-3 innings in Monday’s 7-3 loss to St. Louis, allowing all of the Cardinals’ runs in the fourth.
The rookie has lost his last three starts. Leake was beaten only once in his first 18 major league outings despite skipping the minors entirely.
“The big inning has been that way for the last few outings,” Leake said. “I have to find a way to not do that. When the same thing keeps happening, it’s not fun. I just have to stay focused. I feel great. I’m not tired at all. I’m just hitting a rough patch.”
Leake will surely be wary of Florida’s Mike Stanton(notes), who homered twice and doubled Friday despite battling a sore throat. The 20-year-old outfielder has caught fire this week, going 11 for 16 with four doubles, four homers and eight RBIs in four games.
“My throat was the worst it’s ever been this morning, but we switched up the medication and I took a nap in the training room before practice,” Stanton said. “I feel pretty good now.”
The Marlins (57-57) plan to give Sean West(notes) (0-1, 7.20) his second start of 2010. The left-hander was slated to pitch Sunday against St. Louis, but the game was rained out and his turn in the rotation was skipped.
West hasn’t pitched since Aug. 3, when he gave up five runs in five innings of a 6-1 loss to Philadelphia.
His only previous visit to Cincinnati also was a struggle. West allowed five runs in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-1 loss Sept. 20.
Baker will finish his suspension Saturday, with bench coach Chris Speier managing the Reds.