Marlins 2, Reds 0
CINCINNATI (AP)—Juan Pierre doesn’t need to steal bases to drive opponents to distraction.
The threat of the Florida leadoff hitter’s speed prompted Cincinnati starter Ramon Ortiz to commit three errors on pickoff throws, and two of them led to Pierre scoring unearned runs in the Marlins’ 2-0 victory over the Reds on Sunday.
“I haven’t been getting on base as much as I’d like to be,” said Pierre, who stole two bases Saturday to take over the National League lead with 38. “This shows that speed can play a part. You don’t expect three bad pickoff throws. You see something new in baseball every day.”
Dontrelle Willis allowed four hits in eight innings to earn his career-high 15th win, and second in his last three starts after three consecutive losses. The third-year left-hander walked two and struck out three while improving to 4-0 in five career starts against the Reds.
“I just tried to throw strikes and stay in a rhythm,” Willis said. “That’s my game.”
Reds first baseman Sean Casey was hitless in three at-bats against Willis (15-7).
“He was nasty,” Casey said. “He had everything going. His slider was going, his sinker was going. What he does is kind of sling the ball, and today he kept it down. This was one of those days when nobody in the league was going to hit him.”
Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 23rd save in 25 opportunities. Manager Jack McKeon was glad to use only two pitchers with Florida facing a doubleheader at Colorado on Monday, which originally was scheduled to be a day off.
“We needed it,” McKeon said. “He got into jams, which he does a lot, but he gives you everything he’s got.”
Ortiz (6-8) lost for the second time on the six-game homestand. He allowed both unearned runs and 10 hits with one walk and two strikeouts in seven innings.
He became the first pitcher in the majors to commit three errors in one game since Detroit’s Dave Borkowski on Aug. 23, 1999, at Anaheim, and the first NL pitcher to do it since Chicago’s Jaime Navarro on Aug. 18, 1996.
“I don’t know what happened,” Ortiz said. “I think I tried to be too quick and my feet went the wrong way.”
Reds manager Jerry Narron took some of the blame.
“It was poor management on my part,” Narron said. “I should’ve gone out after the second one and said, ‘Don’t try it unless you can make a strong, accurate throw.’ I should’ve told him before the game.”
The Reds lost both three-game series on the homestand after winning or splitting seven consecutive series. The Marlins have won three of their last four games.
Pierre led off the game with a bunt single and went to third when Ortiz’s attempted pickoff got past Casey. Pierre held when Luis Castillo hit a sharp one-hopper back to Ortiz, but Conine delivered an RBI single to left-center field.
Pierre was back at it in the third. He reached while forcing Willis at second and then moved to second on another bad pickoff by Ortiz, who picked up his second error. Castillo’s single moved Pierre to third and Conine followed with a sacrifice fly to right.
“Every one of those throws would have been close,” Pierre said. “They just weren’t accurate. He has a good, quick move.”
Ortiz committed a third error while trying to pick off Pierre with two outs in the fifth, but Castillo flied out to leave Pierre stranded at third. Casey was charged with Cincinnati’s other error when he dropped the ball during a rundown in the second inning.
The Reds’ four errors tied their season high. They also made four errors on May 18 in a 10-6 loss to the Mets at New York.
The Marlins shored up their catching Sunday by purchasing the contract of Ryan Jorgensen from Triple-A Albuquerque to help fill in for Paul Lo Duca, who strained his right hamstring Saturday. … The Marlins also optioned RHP Randy Messenger to Albuquerque and transferred RHP Logan Kensing from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day list. … Casey’s streak of consecutive errorless games was stopped at a career-high 77 games. Casey’s error was his second of the season and first since May 2 … Ryan Freel and Felipe Lopez, the top two batters in Cincinnati’s lineup, went a combined 0-for-7. Together, they are hitless in their last 33 at-bats.