You would have expected more from the Marlins and Reds on Thursday.
Alas, in a season without expectation, the two most generous teams in the National League when it comes to giving up runs totaled only six in the first game of the Marlins’ final home series of the season.
Four belonged to the Reds, leading to a 4-2 victory. And all four were produced by Scooter Gennett, who is vying with the Brewers’ Christian Yelich for the league batting title. Gennett drove in a pair with a two-out double in the third off Jeff Brigham and knocked in two more with a two-out homer off Elieser Hernandez in the seventh.
Gennett even made a diving stop with the tying runs aboard and two outs in the ninth to preserve the win.
The Marlins? They had their scoring chances but came up empty each and every time until they pushed two runs across in the eighth. But it was too little, too late.
“We got it going a little bit late but didn’t seem to get anything going early,” Mattingly said. “And when we did, we had some double play balls. We seem like we kind of hurt ourselves, hurt our rallies.”
They stranded two runners in the first inning, two more in the third, had double plays wipe out scoring chances in the sixth and seventh innings, and put the tying runs aboard in the ninth, all to no avail. Only a pair of two-out RBI hits -- one by J.T. Realmuto and the other belonging to Peter O’Brien -- prevented a blanking by the last-place Reds.
Brigham, one of the multitude of September call-ups for the Marlins, was making his third big-league start and showed signs of promise, striking out six batters over the course of five innings. But he also walked four, and the two he issued in the third ended up costing him, with both coming across when Gennett drove a double to deep left-center.
“You’ve kind of got to take the good with the bad with that outing,” Mattingly said. “As his outing went out, he looked like he got a little better.”
Brigham said he is feeling more comfortable with each successive outing.
“I think I learned a lot again in this start,” Brigham said. “Every start is a step forward. But I’m also disappointed to be that far out of the zone in the second and third inning. My success comes when I’m attacking the zone.”
Brigham said he’s treating his September audition as a way to show the Marlins what he can do.
“But my first and foremost goal is to go out there, have success, and put this team in the best possible position to win,” he said.
Gennett’s 23rd homer, which came off Hernandez, landed in the upper deck in right.
The Marlins now sit with a record of 59-93 and assuming they don’t face the Pirates in a makeup game on Oct. 1, will need to go 3-6 over their remaining nine games to avoid 100 losses.
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