Fireworks. That’s what any logical thinking person might have anticipated Friday at Great American Ball Park when the Marlins showed up to face the Reds.
The two teams with the most porous starting pitching staffs in the N.L.
Two teams each boasting THREE sluggers with at least 20 home runs.
A bandbox of a ballpark.
The ingredients were all there.
In the end, the only fireworks were the real ones, and even those weren’t detonated due to a midnight curfew law. The Marlins closed out their 3-1 win over Cincinnati at 11:54 p.m.
For just the fourth time this season at Great American, both teams failed to homer.
“My focus is to keep the ball down because in this park the ball flies, so you’ve got to be careful and not to elevate it,” said winning pitcher Jose Urena.
Urena delivered six strong innings, holding the Reds to a run on three hits while improving his record to 8-4.
“It doesn’t matter it’s here,” Mattingly said of Urena’s performance in the hitter-friendly environs. “He was on the attack, going after guys.”
Following a 107-minute rain delay to start the game, the Marlins came up with two runs in the first off Reds starter Homer Bailey. But, thereafter, it turned into a pitching battle.
The Reds scored their only run in the third on Billy Hamilton’s sacrifice fly, and the Marlins managed only one more — in the seventh — on a Christian Yelich single.
But the clash of also-rans was remarkably devoid of offensive spark.
Urena was especially sharp. Of the three hits allowed by Urena, one was an infield single that should have been ruled a fielding error on third baseman Derek Dietrich.
He ran into serious trouble in the fourth when the Reds loaded the bases with two outs. But Giancarlo Stanton came up with Tucker Barnhart’s sinking liner in right to end the inning.
“When Giancarlo caught the ball, I breathed a little,” Urena said.
Urena even contributed with his bat, delivering an opposite-field double for his first career extra-base hit.
“That was a lucky shot,” Urena said, laughing.
After breaking his bat on a foul ball, Urena borrowed one belonging to Marcell Ozuna and used it to line a double to right center.
“He was screaming, ‘Hit a homer! Hit a homer!,’” Urena said. “He was excited.”
But it was his pitching combined with strong bullpen work that carried the Marlins to only their second win since the All-Star break.
Junichi Tazawa, who moved into a late-inning relief role with the departure of David Phelps, ran his streak of outings without allowing a run to nine straight. Kyle Barraclough turned in a scoreless eighth. And A.J. Ramos took care of the Reds in the ninth for his 18th save.
Mattingly’s confidence in Tazawa is growing by the day.
“We’re going to need him, obviously, with the (Phelps) trade,” Mattingly said. “It looks like he’s ready for it.”