Marlins 5, Reds 2

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CINCINNATI (AP)—Brad Penny won’t forgive the glare.

Determined to keep Ken Griffey Jr. from doing anything noteworthy, Penny pitched eight solid innings against the Cincinnati Reds for a 5-2 victory Thursday, Florida’s sixth in its last eight games.

The right-hander was still upset over the way Griffey glared into the Marlins’ dugout as he rounded the bases after a decisive homer in the series opener.

“Something like that just fires you up a little more,” Penny said. “You won’t let a guy like that beat you because you know he’s going to show you up.”

Griffey was miffed after Florida manager Jack McKeon intentionally walked Sean Casey to pitch to him in the opener, and responded with a three-run homer. Griffey glared toward McKeon after he rounded third.

The All-Century outfielder went 0-for-7 as Florida won the last two games of the series, blunting a Cincinnati surge that vaulted the Reds into first place in the NL Central.

Griffey has refused to even acknowledge that he looked into the dugout. Penny said it’s unusual for a hitter to glare at the other team after a homer.

“If they do, they’re usually hitting over .300,” Penny said.

Griffey had 11 homers but was batting only .241 after Penny and Armando Benitez held him hitless on Thursday.

Benitez earned his 18th save and set a team record of 26 2-3 innings without allowing an earned run. Luis Aquino held the previous mark of 26 1-3 innings in 1994.

The right-hander hasn’t given up an earned run since opening day, when Montreal’s Jose Vidro homered.

“I’m real comfortable,” said Benitez, who pitched for the Mets, the Yankees and Seattle last year. “I’m having a good time here, and there are good people here. I’m really enjoying it.”

Alex Gonzalez, batting only .208 this season, had an RBI single and drove in another run with one of Florida’s five doubles off Aaron Harang (4-2), who failed to make it out of the fifth inning.

Gonzalez also drew his first walk since April 28, reaching safely in his first three plate appearances as the Marlins’ No. 8 hitter.

Penny handled a lineup that managed only one hit on Wednesday night off left-hander Tommy Phelps and two relievers. Penny allowed six hits and two runs in eighth innings, and didn’t get flustered when the Reds got some early hits.

“No question the old Penny would have had a couple of hits and seen how hard he could throw it through the backstop,” McKeon said. “He has really matured as a pitcher. He’s got that winning demeanor about him now. I think the playoffs helped him last year.”

The Reds had won 10 of 11 before Phelps and Penny finally stopped their momentum.

“Pitching’s everything,” Reds shortstop Barry Larkin said. “The last two days, they got some great pitching.”

Penny got the greatest delight from shutting down Griffey, his toughest out in the lineup. Griffey fouled out, struck out swinging and flied out. Griffey also grounded out against Benitez in the ninth.

Heading into the game, Griffey was 7-for-11 career against Penny with two homers. Penny decided to just challenge him with fastballs.

“If he hits the ball out of the park, I don’t care,” Penny said. “We still win the game.”

While Gonzalez had a breakout game, two Marlins who regularly enjoy big games against the Reds were at it again.

Hee Seop Choi had a pair of doubles, drove in a run and scored twice. Choi has hit safely in his last nine games against the Reds, with five homers, two doubles and 10 RBIs.

Mike Lowell had two more hits, leaving him 6-for-11 in the series. Lowell loves to hit at Great American Ball Park, where he’s 13-for-24 with eight doubles and two homers.

Casey went 2-for-4 with an RBI single, raising the NL’s top average three points to .379. He leads the league with 67 hits and 23 multihit games, two more than Florida’s Juan Pierre.

Larkin had an RBI double and scored on Casey’s single in the third inning,putting the Reds up 2-0.


Pierre singled in the third inning for his only hit of the series. Pierre hasn’t gone through a series without a hit since June 6-8 last year against Anaheim, getting at least one in his last 47 series. … Larkin’s double made him the third player to have 700 extra-base hits with the Reds.Pete Rose had 868 and Johnny Bench had 794.

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