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Reds need 10 innings to finish sweep in Miami

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- A blown lead in the ninth inning failed to discourage the Cincinnati Reds.

Instead, they battled back with three runs in the 10th inning to finally defeat the Miami Marlins 5-3 Thursday night, sweeping the three-game series at Marlins Park.

"We could have put our heads down," said Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who gave his team a lead it would not relinquish with a sacrifice fly in the 10th. "We wanted to win in nine, but a win is a win, and I'm proud of our team."

Working against Marlins closer Steve Cishek (1-4), Reds rookie Donald Lutz had a pinch-hit single to start the winning rally. Lutz advanced to second on a walk to Shin-Soo Choo and to third on a sacrifice bunt by Zack Cozart. After Joey Votto was walked intentionally, Phillips lofted his fly to left.

"I really didn't have to do too much," Phillips said. "The guys got in scoring position for me, and I just did my job."

The Reds padded their lead with a two-run double to right by Jay Bruce.

The Marlins got one back in the bottom of the 10th on Matt Diaz's pinch-hit, run-scoring single, but that was all they could muster.

Trailing only the St. Louis Cardinals by 1 1/2 games in a tight National League Central race, the Reds (25-16) have now won six in a row.

The Marlins, the worst team in the NL at 11-30, lost their fifth in a row.

Playing Thursday before an announced crowd of 16,680 at Marlins Park, Reds veteran Mat Latos appeared to have outdueled Miami rookie Jose Fernandez.

Entering the ninth, Latos had allowed just two singles, one walk and a solo homer. However, Adeiny Hechavarria tripled to right-center with one out in the bottom of the ninth to knock Latos out.

"Latos was dealing," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "His pitch count was low. He had been very efficient, and he had (Hechavarria) 0-2."

Closer Aroldis Chapman (3-1) entered the game, and it looked as if he might get out of the jam when he struck out pinch hitter Placido Polanco on a 100 mph fastball. But rookie Marcell Ozuna hit a long triple to deep center field to score Hechavarria and send the game to extra innings.

"They have some good young players over there," Baker said of the Marlins. "They are going to be good in the future."

J.J. Hoover earned his third save despite allowing Diaz's RBI hit.

Earlier, it appeared Phillips' sixth-inning solo homer to left might stand up as the game-winning hit. The home run, which traveled an estimated 383 feet, was his seventh of the season.

Fernandez threw a career-high 99 pitches, lasting seven innings while allowing five hits, three walks and two runs. He was on the hook for the loss until the Marlins rallied in the ninth.

Marlins left fielder Juan Pierre had an exciting first inning. In the top of the frame, he got turned around on a long fly ball by Votto. Pierre recovered and made a diving catch on the warning track.

"He had a good jump on that," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "I think the ball cut on him, but he made the adjustment."

In the bottom of the first, Pierre pulled a 2-1 pitch down the line for his first homer of the season. The line drive barely cleared the 335-foot sign and was homer No. 18 in Pierre's 15-year big-league career.

"That was great -- JP hasn't had a lot of those in his career," Redmond said. "And to show some emotion -- JP doesn't usually do that. Everybody likes to see that, a guy who has played that long get fired up. I think that made us all feel good."

The Reds tied the score 1-1 in the fourth when Votto doubled to left and scored on Bruce's single to left.

NOTES: Polanco, just 1-for-7 during the current homestand, was not in the starting lineup, replaced by Nick Green. Polanco still leads the Marlins with 36 starts. ... Miami CF Justin Ruggiano, 0-for-7 in the homestand, also got a rest. He was replaced by Chris Coghlan, who went 0-for-2 with a walk. ... Reds OF Chris Heisley aggravated his hamstring injury Monday playing in Class A on a rehab assignment. Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said Thursday that Heisley would be "out awhile." ... Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi, who is on the disabled list due to right shoulder inflammation, threw about 40 pitches in a bullpen session Thursday. ... Marlins C Jeff Mathis, who had spent the entire season on the disabled list before being activated Tuesday, made his first start of the year Thursday and went 0-for-4. He suffered a broken collarbone in spring training. ... Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman earned his eighth save of the season Wednesday night, but it took 26 pitches, including 10 on the final hitter, rookie Derek Dietrich. Seven of those pitches to Dietrich were at least 100 mph, topping at 102. Chapman ended the game by freezing Dietrich with an 87 mph slider.
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