Ruggiano blast lifts Marlins to win over Reds

CINCINNATI -- For the Miami Marlins, who scored one or fewer runs nine times this season, Friday night's game had followed a familiar script through eight innings.

But when center fielder Justin Ruggiano jumped on a 3-1 pitch from Cincinnati Reds' closer Aroldis Chapman and sent it sailing 411 feet into the left-center field seats, it was a shot of confidence for the Marlins.

Under ideal conditions for pitchers on an unseasonably cool Friday evening at Great American Ball Park, Ruggiano provided the decisive run with his solo homer in the ninth on a 94-mph fastball from Chapman, lifting Miami to a 2-1 win.

Cincinnati's loss ended its four-game winning streak.

"We have a young team, so any win is huge for us," said Ruggiano. "But to get a win on the road against that lineup is huge. It's a chance to build a little confidence."

Ruggiano's homer was the first earned run allowed this season by Chapman (2-1) who took the loss.

"You get so used to him being perfect," said Reds' manager Dusty Baker of Chapman. "That guy took a good pitch to get it to 3-1. He hit a high fastball, trying to catch up to it."

Steve Cishek pitched the ninth and earned Miami's first save this season. He hasn't allowed a run in eight career appearances against Cincinnati. Mike Dunn (1-0) got the win for Miami.

"We haven't scored a ton of runs," said Marlins' manager Mike Redmond. "We've been talking about getting that big hit in those situations. Everything worked out perfect for us tonight, just perfect."

Friday's game was a pitcher's duel for most of the night.

Reds' starter Mat Latos struck out 10 batters for the sixth time in his career. He had four Ks in the first two innings.

"Both sides were pitching good," said Baker. "That's how it goes sometimes. If we keep playing defense and getting good pitching, we'll be fine."

Friday brought more tough luck for Marlins' starter Kevin Slowey, who allowed one run and four hits through six innings but didn't factor in the decision.

"That's the best I've seen him pitch," said Redmond.

Slowey (0-2) earned his second no-decision this season, despite giving up two or fewer earned runs in each of his starts. The Marlins didn't score a run in any of Slowey's previous three outings.

"The team win comes first," Slowey said. "We've been playing our hearts out. Good to see (Ruggiano) get a big clutch hit."

Cincinnati, which had scored 11 runs in the previous two games, provided Latos with some early run support when Shin-Soo Choo tripled and scored on Joey Votto's sacrifice fly, putting the Reds ahead, 1-0.

Nick Green and Donovan Solano singled off Latos to begin the third. Placido Polanco's two-out single drove home Green to tie the score 1-1, but Solano was thrown out at home by Jay Bruce.

Slowey seemed to settle in after a rocky first, retiring eight of nine batters in one stretch.

Latos struck out two batters in the first, second, fourth and fifth. He had nine Ks and 65 pitches through five innings.

Juan Pierre led off the sixth with a double but was thrown out at home by Reds' shortstop Zack Cozart trying to score from third on Giancarlo Stanton's ground ball.

Miami had two runners thrown out at home in Friday's game.

"We were just trying to be aggressive in those situations," said Redmond.

The Marlins helped elevate Latos' pitch-count in the seventh. But with runners on second and third with two outs, Latos struck out pinch hitter Greg Dobbs to end the inning.

Latos exited after 105 pitches in seven innings, having allowed just one run and six hits.

Dobbs pinch-hit in the seventh for Slowey who had thrown only 82 pitches and felt like he had plenty left in the tank. But with the Marlins scuffling on offense, Dobbs batted for Slowey with a chance to break open a tie game.

"Dobbs is the guy we want up there in that situation," Slowey said.

NOTES: The Marlins designated right-hander John Maine for assignment and recalled right-hander Tom Koehler from Triple-A New Orleans. Koehler allowed two earned runs in 17 innings with 14 strikeouts for the Zephyrs. Maine allowed six earned runs and walked five in two innings during Thursday's 11-1 loss at Cincinnati. ... The Reds entered Friday's game with an 8-2 record at Great American Ball Park, the best home mark in baseball. ... Choo has reached base in all 16 appearances this season.