Reds 5, Marlins 1

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MIAMI (AP)—The Cincinnati Reds headed to Pittsburgh knowing that winning all three games on the season’s final weekend would not be enough to reach the postseason.

Kyle Lohse doubled in two runs and gave up three hits over six innings to help the Reds keep alive their slim playoff hopes with a 5-1 victory over the Florida Marlins on Thursday night.

Javier Valentin had two hits and an RBI for Cincinnati, which moved within 2 1/2 games of first-place St. Louis in the NL Central. Houston is second in the division, one-half game behind the Cardinals, who lost 9-4 to Milwaukee on Thursday night.

“We’ve got Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo starting the next two nights, so I like our chances,” manager Jerry Narron said. “We just have to win and see what happens.”

Lohse (3-5) basically shut down the Marlins after allowing Miguel Cabrera’s RBI-single in the first. He walked three—all in the fourth inning—and struck out five to end a personal three-game losing streak.

“If we finish strong here, that says something about us,” Lohse said. “We haven’t given up. We’re out there trying to play the game the right way.”

Lohse started despite having tightness in his back since Sunday.

“I obviously wanted to make that last start of the regular season and be ready in case anything else happens,” Lohse said. “It was a little tight, but luckily it was warm enough out there it didn’t tighten up too much.”

Ricky Nolasco (11-11) allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out five.

The Reds used a three-run sixth to take a 5-1 lead.

Juan Castro’s two-out single scored Valentin, who had singled with one out. With Castro having gone to second on the throw home, Nolasco then intentionally walked Brandon Phillips. Lohse then lined a two-run double to right.

“I saw that intentional walk coming a mile away, especially with my awesome swings at those curveballs,” said Lohse, who struck out his first two times at bat. “I tricked him into throwing me one more fastball and I got lucky.”

Second baseman Dan Uggla’s throwing error helped Cincinnati take a 2-0 lead in the first.

Leadoff singles by Chris Denorfia and Scott Hatteberg and a walk to Edwin Encarnacion loaded the bases with no outs. After Adam Dunn struck out, Valentin hit a hard grounder to shortstop Hanley Ramirez that appeared to be a double play ball.

Uggla took Ramirez’s throw for the force at second, pivoted and threw over first baseman Mike Jacobs for an error. Denorfia and Hatteberg scored on the play.

The Marlins loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth, but the inning ended when shortstop Castro fielded Alfredo Amezaga’s grounder behind second base and flipped the ball directly from his glove to Phillips for the inning-ending force out.

“It was instinct,” Castro said. “I didn’t think about how was getting the all to Phillips.”

The loss guarantees the Marlins (77-82) their first losing season since 2002.

“It’s not demoralizing,” Ramirez said. “We were 11-31 at one point. This team has too much pride and will play hard the final three games.” ^Notes: Marlins C Matt Treanor was ejected by home plate umpire Larry Young in the first inning after arguing after the first pitch (a ball) to Dunn with no outs and the bases loaded. Miguel Olivo replaced him. … Dunn’s first-inning strikeout was his 191st of the season. He holds the major league record with 195 in 2004. … After the game, the Marlins announced Jacobs was leaving the team for personal reasons and would not return before the season ends Sunday.

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