The Reds try to extend their season-high winning streak to five Friday night when they play the second of four against the major league-worst Marlins at Great American Ball Park.
Since losing five straight, Cincinnati (9-7) has picked up the pace in a big way. The Reds have gone 16 for 33 (.485) with runners in scoring position and compiled a 1.25 ERA in winning their last four games by a 27-5 margin.
Cincinnati has also taken eight of nine at home, including five straight. The Reds haven’t posted six consecutive victories on their own field since a seven-game run May 4-17, 2011.
After completing a three-game sweep of Philadelphia, Cincinnati cruised to an 11-1 victory in Thursday’s series opener. Todd Frazier went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer and three runs scored for the Reds, who have posted back-to-back games with at least 11 runs for the first time since beating Houston 15-6 and 12-2 on May 28-29, 2010.
Tony Cingrani also came up big with five solid innings in his season debut.
“He gave us what we needed, and we gave him what he needed,” manager Dusty Baker said.
The Reds now give the ball to Mat Latos (0-0, 3.26 ERA), who cruised through six innings before allowing three runs in the seventh of Sunday’s 10-7 loss at Pittsburgh. The Reds had won each of his previous nine regular season outings.
“I didn’t have a good feel for my slider,” he told MLB’s official website. “It wasn’t as hard as it normally is. That’s just the way things go.”
Latos has been hit hard in five career outings against the Marlins, going 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA - his second-highest mark against any opponent. He’ll need to be cautious with Giancarlo Stanton who’s gone 4 for 5 in their matchups.
After missing the previous six games due to a bruised left shoulder, Stanton went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts Thursday. The slugging right fielder is batting .182 with no RBIs over 10 games and has fanned 14 times in 33 at-bats.
Justin Ruggiano provided all the offense Thursday with Miami’s major league-worst fourth homer. The Marlins (3-13) are also last in baseball with 33 runs scored and a .208 average.
Marlins starter Kevin Slowey (0-2, 2.04) knows all too well of the team’s offensive woes. The right-hander, who was limited to eight minor league starts in 2012 due to a fractured rib cage, has received zero runs of support through his first three turns in the rotation.
Slowey allowed one run and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings but didn’t factor in the decision of Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Philadelphia.
“Tremendous pitching performance again by Slowey,” said manager Mike Redmond, a former teammate of his in Minnesota. “This might be the best I’ve ever seen him pitch. He’s locating his fastball. His tempo is great. He’s pounding the strike zone. Man, he needs a win. We’ve got to get this guy a win.”
Slowey, who’s never faced Cincinnati, is 0-10 with a 6.47 ERA over his last 12 big league starts. His last win came in a 4-2 victory over Oakland on Sept. 18, 2010, while with the Twins.