Adam Conley has been a changed pitcher since his return to the majors.
On Saturday night, Conley delivered his third quality start in a row since his two-month banishment to the minors, and helped the Marlins secure a 7-3 home victory over the Reds.
The Marlins (49-53) won their fourth in a row — matching a season-long winning streak — and won for the seventh time in nine games.
Conley gave up a solo homer to Joey Votto in the first inning and another to Adam Duvall in the fourth.
That was the extent of the damage he yielded over 7 2/3 innings in which he struck out seven, walked two and allowed five hits.
“He’s still quick and aggressive,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “I love his pace because it keeps everybody working a lot like [Jose] Urena where it’s quick and he’s even faster than that. He’s been aggressive and obviously it’s working.”
Conley is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his three starts since being recalled from Triple A New Orleans on July 18.
Conley pitched his longest start since June 22 of last season, when he threw eight innings at home against the Braves. It was the third-longest start by any Marlins starter this season behind Edinson Volquez’s no-hitter on June 3, and Dan Straily’s 8 1/3-inning start July 7 in San Francisco.
“I think the biggest thing is getting ahead of guys,” Conley said. “When I’m able to command the ball early in the count it helps me set up a lot of other things. Once you get rolling like that and get in a little bit of a rhythm, our guys put up a few runs the game just kind of clicks.”
Christian Yelich erased the Reds’ quick 1-0 lead with a three-run homer to left center in the bottom of the third. Yelich belted an 0-2 fastball from Tim Adleman with two outs that traveled 403 feet.
It was only the second opposite field home run Yelich has hit at Marlins Park in his five-year career.
“I’ll take them,” Yelich said. “You’ve got to earn them. You don’t really get any cheap homers in this place. I think it’s probably the biggest, if not the biggest, and one of the worst hitters’ parks in baseball.”
Yelich hit his fourth home run in his past 10 games, and his timely hitting has been clutch with Stanton being pitched carefully by the Reds throughout the first three games of the series. Stanton has been walked six times during that span.
“That helps me,” Stanton said. “It obviously helps him. It helps [Marcell] Ozuna. I don’t have to try to do more when I know I have those guys behind me. I know they will step up if something happens.”
The Marlins tacked on three more in the fifth on doubles from Stanton and Ozuna.
Conley started the inning by drawing only his second walk in 80 career plate appearances. Dee Gordon singled on a first-pitch, two-seam fastball from Adleman. Stanton jumped on a first pitch four-seam fastball and drove it into the right center field gap to plate two runs.
Two batters later, Ozuna drilled a changeup to the wall in left center to score Stanton and prompt Adleman’s exit after 4 1/3 innings.
“It’s hard to say I’m proud of walking,” Conley said. “But from second base, watching G hit a ball like that is something I don’t get to see a lot. It’s impressive to watch from the dugout but it was really cool to watch him hit a ball like that form the field. I just want to say I’m thankful he’s on my team.”