Don Mattingly on Marlins' 7-4 win over Reds
Usually, it’s Giancarlo Stanton crushing baseballs to the deepest parts of Marlins Park.
On Friday night, it was J.T. Realmuto’s turn.
Realmuto sent a ball soaring toward the left field scoreboard that put the Marlins ahead for good in a 7-4 victory over the Reds.
Realmuto drove an 87-mph changeup from reliever Wandy Peralta 411 feet for a solo home run that broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh.
The Marlins (48-53) scored four runs in the seventh and secured their third consecutive victory and sixth in their past eight games.
“I felt like I was seeing that guy well,” Realmuto said. “He left a pitch over the plate and I was able to put a good swing on it, to give us the lead. Then the guys did a good job of backing me up and scoring more runs so we had a little less pressure on our bullpen.”
Realmuto has hit four homers in his past six games and set a new career-high with his 12th home run of the season.
“In my opinion, the power has always been there,” Realmuto said. “I just haven't always tapped into it, not getting myself into the right counts, swinging at pitches I shouldn't be swinging at. I feel like this year with [hitting coaches Mike Pagliarulo] Pags and Frankie [Menechino], they've really helped me on staying focused on my approach, and getting myself in good counts.”
Derek Dietrich, who went 2 for 4, and Tyler Moore, who went 2 for 5, followed Realmuto’s homer with back-to-back doubles.
Two batters later, Mike Aviles hit his first career pinch-hit home run. Aviles’ first home run traveled 366 feet and just barely cleared the left field wall.
“I was just more worried that it was going to hook,” Aviles said. “I was hoping it would stay straight enough to be fair so we could get at least a run.”
The Reds scored three runs in the first off starter Vance Worley, with most of the damage coming on a two-run homer from Adam Duvall.
But the bullpen put in a solid effort collectively.
Hunter Cervenka pitched two key scoreless innings in relief of Worley and struck out five, giving the Marlins a chance to come back.
“I wasn’t expecting to throw that many pitches to some of the guys that I did,” Cervenka said. “But it worked out and gave two innings that we needed.”
Junichi Tazawa gave up a solo home run in the ninth that Scott Schebler sent 432 feet into the upper deck in right field. Tazawa remained in the game, however, with A.J. Ramos unavailable and subsequently traded to the New York Mets in a deal for two prospects.
The Marlins began chipping away in the fourth, taking advantage of a costly error by Reds starter Sal Romano.
After loading the bases with one out, Tomas Telis bounced a ball back to Romano, who threw wide of catcher Tucker Barnhart, which allowed Realmuto to score. A sacrifice fly by Dee Gordon cut the deficit to 3-2. The Marlins left the bases loaded two batters later when reliever Michael Lorenzen induced a pop up by Christian Yelich.
The Marlins tied the score in the sixth when Stanton grounded out on a slow roller to third that allowed Miguel Rojas to score.
Ichiro Suzuki doubled to move Rojas into scoring position, notching his 3,060th career MLB hit and tying Craig Biggio for 22nd on the all-time list.