A day after manager Ozzie Guillen profanely combated accusations of his team’s alleged lack of drive, the Marlins staged their own response. Theirs, too, was hard-hitting.
The Marlins (65-81) racked up nine hits — six of them extra-base hits — in less than five innings against ace Johnny Cueto en route to a 6-4 victory over the Reds (87-59).
“That was an unbelievable job of hitting,” Guillen said. “We had a great approach at the plate and got big hits. With Cueto, he goes from 96 to 85 [mph] and that’s a lot of velocity to cover. They did a good job trying to make him throw the ball over the plate.”
Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Lee highlighted the offensive onslaught with a two-run triple and two-run homer, respectively.
After straining his neck and experience numbness in his fingers during Friday’s game, Lee was listed as day-to-day but knew by the end of Friday’s game that he wanted to play Saturday.
“I wanted to take a chance with it,” Lee said. “When I left I was getting the feeling back in my hand. I told the trainer ‘I’m not day-to-day: I’ll be ready [Saturday].’ ”
Cueto (17-9), who entered the game with a 2.71 ERA, lasted just 4 1/3 innings and was pulled after having surrendered six runs. It was his third loss in a row, the right-hander’s longest skid this season.
“[Cueto] couldn’t spot his breaking ball, and we went swinging,” Lee said.
Marlins starter Mark Buehrle (13-12) allowed four runs and struck out seven batters — walking none — in 72/3 innings to get the win.
Steve Cishek finished up to earn his 14th save of the season after the Reds had pulled to within two runs in the eighth inning.
On Friday night, Guillen had tweeted a profane message rejecting a report by ESPN’s Buster Olney that his players had stopped caring. Defending the tweet before Saturday’s game, Guillen said that nearly every player has been fighting to prove himself for next season. Guillen said that only two players have guaranteed spots in next year’s lineup: Jose Reyes and Stanton.
Neither of the two stars showed any signs of slacking off, though. Reyes finished 3 for 4 and Stanton went 2 for 4 and made a diving catch in right field.
Miami grabbed an early lead, thanks to a two-run triple by Stanton, whose first-inning drive hit the bottom of the right-field wall.
Stanton was not stuck on third for long, as two pitches later Lee brought him home with a sacrifice fly to right field. It was a close play, though, and Stanton dove headfirst to beat catcher Ryan Hanigan’s tag at the plate and give Miami a 3-0 lead.
Cincinnati cut the lead with a run in both the third and fourth innings, but the Marlins struck back in the fifth inning.
Doubles by Justin Ruggiano and Reyes were followed by a 404-foot home run to left-center by Lee, increasing the lead to 6-2. It was Lee’s ninth home run of the year.
The Reds got two runs back in the eighth inning, thanks to a two-run home run by Ryan Ludwick off Buehrle, ending the veteran’s night. Buehrle got closer to reaching his personal goal of 200 innings for the year. The left-hander has thrown 188 1/3 this year.
“You have a lot of confidence the night before [Buehrle] pitches because you know he’s going to give you a good game,” Guillen said.
Cishek struck out two in the ninth but did allow the tying run to come to the plate after a single by Dioner Navarro.
The Marlins had not won two games in a row during a homestand since July 29.