Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins beat sloppy Reds again, go for series sweep on Sunday

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) breaks the bat on a single as catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) scores in the eighth inning as the Miami Marlins host the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park on Saturday, July 9, 2016.
Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) breaks the bat on a single as catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) scores in the eighth inning as the Miami Marlins host the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park on Saturday, July 9, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

When it comes to bad teams, it hasn’t been an easy time for the Marlins.

The Atlanta Braves, in particular, have caused them nothing but trouble this season.

But the Marlins might have finally found one they can handle: the Cincinnati Reds.

With a 4-2 victory over the last-place Reds on Saturday, the Marlins can enter the All-Star break on a happy note with a series sweep with another victory on Sunday afternoon. And they can thank the extra-generous Reds for giving them an extra lift.

The Marlins scored all but one of their runs on Reds fielding miscues.

“You take wins any way you can get them,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We’ve had some losses in these kinds of games. But these are the games we’re going to have to win and continue to win throughout the rest of the year.”

Saturday’s outing was a battle for Adam Conley, but he persevered for the victory to improve to 6-5. Conley’s fastball didn’t contain as much zip, and he came out in the sixth after throwing 87 pitches.

“I’ve seen his stuff be better,” Mattingly said. “There’s days that don’t seem as sharp. And [Saturday] he didn’t seem extremely sharp to me as far as the fastball.”

The Marlins scored their first three runs on Reds miscues.

J.T. Realmuto raced home from third on a passed ball when Reds catcher Ramon Caberera was crossed up on a John Lamb slow curve in the first inning.

But the biggest mistake came in the fifth when right fielder Jay Bruce overran Martin Prado’s fly ball to right. What should have been a routine catch ended up as a two-run double.

That gave the Marlins the lead.

“It was weird,” Prado said of his opposite-field shot, which carried to the wall. “The ball kept carrying for some reason and it had a weird spin. And I think Bruce misjudged it. I think that’s one of those signs I’m blessed by God.”

Lamb probably deserved a better fate.

The long-haired left-hander brought a 2-10 career mark into Saturday but pitched well. At one point, he retired 14 of 15 batters, striking out a career-high nine in the process.

“Their guy had us baffled for a few innings there,” Mattingly said of Lamb. “He seemed to have us kind of on the string.”

Conley retired the first two batters in the sixth, but Mattingly decided to go to his bullpen with Adam Duvall coming up.

Duvall had homered off Conley in the second inning, and Mattingly didn’t want to take the risk of him going deep again.

“I just felt like it was the right spot,” Mattingly said, “for a guy that’s battling.”

In the eighth, Giancarlo Stanton’s broken-bat RBI single up the middle made it 4-2.

“That’s what you call strong,” Prado said. “You’ve got to be strong to get a base hit when your bat is in 25 pieces.”

The bullpen covered the final  3 1/3 innings, with David Phelps, Kyle Barraclough, Fernando Rodney and A.J. Ramos combining to close out the win. Ramos recorded his 27th save.

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