Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria had a message waiting for his players on the digital message board inside the clubhouse Friday.
It read: “Tonight we play like warriors. Not victims.”
A night after feeling victimized by an overturned call at the plate, the frustrations continued for the Marlins. This time, though, it wasn’t because of a decision made by an umpire in a replay booth more than 1,000 miles away.
Ryan Ludwick’s bat and Mat Latos’ arm guided the visiting Cincinnati Reds to a 5-2 victory, ruining the debut of newly acquired starting pitcher Jarred Cosart and sending the Marlins to their third consecutive loss in front of 20,410 at Marlins Park.
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Ludwick, who delivered the game-winning hit in a come-from-behind win Thursday, broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth Friday when he plated two runs on a softly hit double to left off Chris Hatcher with the bases loaded.
Latos, a graduate of Coconut Creek High, pretty much did the rest.
He gave up five hits over seven innings to pick up his first win against the Marlins in eight tries as Cincinnati (55-54) beat Miami (53-56) for the seventh consecutive time dating to last season.
“We had a couple shots there to get to [Latos] early, but just couldn't get that big hit,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “We've been getting some runners on base. We just haven't been able to get that big blow. ”
Giancarlo Stanton crushed his 26th home run of the season — and third in three days — tying him with Mike Lowell for third place on the Marlins’ all-time homer list with 143. But it marked Stanton’s seventh home run in a row he’s hit with no one base. The Marlins couldn’t generate much more in the way of offense.
Cosart, acquired in a six-player deadline deal Thursday that included Marlins 2013 first-round pick Colin Moran, battled neck-and-neck with Latos until the Reds put up the decisive three runs in the sixth.
After a one-out walk and an infield single by Todd Frazier, Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco battled through a nine-pitch at-bat against Cosart to draw a walk and load the bases. That brought the hook from manager Mike Redmond.
Chris Hatcher entered and had Ludwick on a 1-2 count before he gave up the decisive hit. Skip Schumaker then tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly to left. All of the runs were charged to Cosart, who gave up only four hits, two walks and struck out three on 82 pitches.
“The key at-bat was the ground ball [infield single Frazier hit] back to me,” Cosart said. “Hit off my glove, put a guy on first and second, ended up walking a guy and put Hatcher in a really bad spot. If I make that play the outcome of the game probably changes.”
Second baseman Jordany Valdespin tied the score at 1 in the fifth with a two-out RBI single to right. The Marlins then loaded the bases and had an opportunity to take the lead. But Garrett Jones grounded out to first base for the final out.
Initially, first-base umpire Tom Woodring ruled Jones safe on a close play. But replays showed Latos beat Jones to the bag to catch the flip from Frazier and the call was overturned.
Before the game, Cosart expressed his excitement over being traded from Houston to Miami.
“I played these guys a little over a week ago [in Houston] and saw the lineup they brought out there,” Cosart said. “I saw the way they swung the bats. I definitely want them behind me. Having Salty, Mathis behind the plate to work with, I’m just going to try and execute the game plan like I always do, give them a chance to win.”
He did that early on Friday. Cosart retired nine in a row to start the game before the Reds strung together three consecutive hits by Billy Hamilton, Jay Bruce and Frazier to take a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
Cosart, though, battled back to work himself out of a nobody-out, runners-on-the-corners situation later in the frame with a strikeout, lineout and groundout.
“Looked good for five innings and looked like he just kind of ran out of gas there in the sixth inning,” Redmond said. “But I saw some good things. I saw a good fastball and hit on some good breaking balls and a couple change-ups. I thought overall he pitched fine.”
Enrique “Kike” Hernandez, a 22-year-old utility man also acquired in the trade, made his Marlins debut as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and grounded out to third.
“This is a good opportunity for me no matter what,” Hernandez said. “I think a guy like me can be a super utility, have more value in the National League since the pitchers can hit and they’re double-switching and stuff. But I mean, if they give me a chance at second base, I’ll make the best of it.”