Reds rally to reel in Marlins

Reds rally to reel in Marlins

CINCINNATI -- When Reds fans file into Great American Ball Park, they probably rarely bother to read the fine print on the backs of their tickets.

This season, customers should pay extra special attention to the part about there being no re-entry once they exit the stadium. Beating traffic home isn't going to be nearly as interesting as the conclusion of the game.

That point was proven in Wednesday's 9-8 win over the Marlins before 18,881 fans at Great American Ball Park, where Cincinnati successfully picked away at Florida's leads of 5-0 and 8-4. The difference-maker was Edwin Encarnacion's RBI double down the left-field line off reliever Todd Wellemeyer (0-1) that scored Adam Dunn with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

Reds pitchers allow an average of 6.3 runs per game thus far, but Cincinnati's lineup just happens to also average 6.3 runs per game.

That means no game is really that out of hand, and no deficit should be too intimidating.

"We will keep playing hard and playing until the ninth inning, no matter what happens," Encarnacion said.

The 9-6 Reds entered the game ranked No. 1 in the National League in both home runs and extra-base hits. Yet oddly enough, none of their runs scored Wednesday involved the long ball, and Encarnacion's double was the only one of 12 Cincinnati hits to go for extra bases.

Florida, which began the game ranked 13th of 16 NL clubs in homers and runs scored, slugged four homers in the game and still lost.

"We never gave up," said center fielder Ryan Freel, who reached base in all five of his plate appearances and scored two runs. "When you have this much hitting in the lineup and guys that can swing the bat, we're not giving at-bats away. We're battling our butts off, and we've shown we can score five, six runs in an inning. There's no reason to drop your head and give up."

Cincinnati won two of three games in the series from the Marlins, but it certainly did it the hard way. After easily winning the opener by a 9-1 score, Reds pitchers gave up 20 runs and 33 hits the last two games.

Reds starter Aaron Harang lasted four innings and gave up three home runs, including Dan Uggla's three-run shot to center field in the fourth that gave Marlins ace Dontrelle Willis a 5-0 advantage.

"They came out swinging from the get-go," Harang said. "I didn't execute my pitches, plain and simple. I didn't have it today. I tried to battle."

Down five runs? No problem, says manager Jerry Narron.

Longest homers at Great American Ball Park
Adam Dunn Reds Jose Lima 535' 8/10/04
Wily Mo Pena Reds Brandon Duckworth 498' 4/17/05
Reggie Abercrombie Marlins Michael Gosling 493' 4/19/06
Derrek Lee Cubs Matt Belisle 482' 4/18/05
Adam Dunn Reds John Grabow 479' 4/6/06

"The big thing was just to try and stay close," Narron said. "I know you'll think I'm crazy, but I thought we could win the game [Tuesday] night, down 10-2. I know our guys are going to score some runs and are not going to quit."

With long ball taking the day off for Cincinnati, small ball took over in the four-run fourth against Willis. With the bases loaded and two outs, Freel's comebacker skipped off Willis' glove for a run-scoring single. Jason LaRue then scored on a wild pitch before Brandon Phillips' flare into shallow right field went for a two-run single and made it 5-4.

Aided by Reggie Abercrombie's 493-foot solo homer off Michael Gosling, Florida made it 8-4 in the sixth.

Down, 8-5, entering the bottom of the eighth, Cincinnati used a walk and two singles to load the bases with no outs. Pinch-hitter Felipe Lopez followed with a slow rolling RBI infield single to second base off pitcher Matt Herges, and an extra run scored on Uggla's ill-advised errant throw into the camera well.

Lopez scored the tying run on Brandon Phillips' RBI groundout to shortstop.

Dunn drew a leadoff walk, then went to second on Scott Hatteberg's one-out single to right field. That set up Encarnacion, who was pumping his fist as he ran up the first-base line after his low hit zipped past third base. It rewarded reliever Todd Coffey (1-0), who pitched a perfect top of the ninth with two strikeouts.

"We have a lot of guys with a lot of heart on this team," Freel said. "It's going to take us a long way. We have guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark at will. When you have guys like that in the lineup, you really give yourself a chance."

Apparently, that's also true on days when they don't hit the ball out of the ballpark. Remember that the next time you want to bolt from a game early.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.