Cabrera, Reds chase Fernandez early, edge Fish

Cabrera, Reds chase Fernandez early, edge Fish

CINCINNATI -- A well-rested Jose Fernandez was unable to slow down the Reds on Thursday night. Ramon Cabrera belted a three-run home run off the All-Star right-hander, and Dan Straily gave up two runs in six innings as Cincinnati was able to hold off the Marlins, 5-4, at Great American Ball Park.

After dropping the series opener, 6-3, on Monday night, the Reds ran off three straight wins, further damaging the Marlins' positioning in the National League Wild Card standings. Miami, which fell to 2 1/2 games behind St. Louis, is now 5-11 in August. Fernandez was tagged for five runs on seven hits in four innings.

As part of the plan to keep Fernandez around 180 innings on the season, the All-Star was skipped a start, and he pitched on nine days' rest Thursday. The hard-throwing right-hander looked rested, but not sharp, and the four innings marked his shortest start since going four on April 11, 2014, at Philadelphia.

Fernandez fans six, gets 200th K

"Unfortunately, I didn't give my team a chance to win today. I'm not happy about that," Fernandez said. "I was probably a little out of timing, but there is nothing you can do. Get ready for your next start, and just come back and give your boys a chance to win. That's baseball."

Cabrera's three-run blast to right field gave the Reds a lead in the second and provided Straily with some breathing room. Cincinnati tacked on two more runs in the third, with the speed of Billy Hamilton being a factor. Hamilton drew a throw from Marcell Ozuna after the center fielder ran down Brandon Phillips' liner. When Ozuna's throw skipped away from third baseman Martin Prado, no one was backing up the play, and Hamilton scored from second. Eugenio Suarez's RBI double made it 5-0.

Hamilton's speed creates a run

"We took advantage of some of the early strikes he threw in the count and didn't get deep in the count because he has the paralyzing slider. But you know what? He throws 100 [mph], too," Reds manager Bryan Price said of Fernandez. "It's not like he was a guy who was 'oh well,' and easing it in there and don't get to two strikes because of the slider. He was throwing 100 mph and looked like a million bucks."

The Marlins rallied back to make it a one-run game. Ozuna hit a two-run homer off Straily in the sixth, and in the seventh inning, Prado laced a two-run single off Jumbo Diaz, with both runs being unearned. But Raisel Iglesias pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.

Iglesias nails down victory

"We battled to get ourselves back in it," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We just weren't able to get over that hump."

First of 2016: When Cabrera hit an 84-mph Fernandez curveball into the third row of right-field seats, it marked his first home run of 2016 -- and the second of his career. Cabrera's other long ball came on Sept. 11, 2015, vs. the Cardinals and pitcher John Lackey.

"It's very special for me," Cabrera said before sharing a story. "Also, I talked to the umpire [Pat Hoberg]. ... He said, 'Hey, you know who was the umpire behind the plate when you hit the homer against Lackey?' I said, 'No, who?' He said 'me.' He's very special for me. I was just ready to have a good game and have a good at-bat."

Ozuna stays hot, team cold: The Marlins may be going through a cold stretch, but Ozuna is heating up in the cleanup spot. His two-run blast off Straily gave Miami life after being down by five runs early. The homer also was Ozuna's third of the series. With Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Bour on the disabled list, the Marlins are looking for power from someone. Ozuna has been coming through, as he now has 22 home runs, second on the club to Stanton's 25.

Ozuna's two-run homer

The Marlins did come back to make it a one-run game, but they had nothing on the board through five innings.

"We've just got to play better baseball, all the way around," catcher Jeff Mathis said. "Limit mistakes. Get some better at-bats. Score some more runs and put up some more zeros."

Pitcher's best friend: Ichiro Suzuki followed Ozuna's homer in the sixth with a single. Then Straily went to a 2-0 count against Chris Johnson that brought out Reds pitching coach Mack Jenkins for a chat. Straily picked up two called strikes on the next two pitches, and most importantly, induced an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play with an offspeed pitch to keep Miami from further narrowing his lead. More >

Reds turn two in the 6th

Strikeout No. 200 for Jose: Considering Cabrera's homer happened two hitters earlier, the timing of the milestone was bittersweet for Fernandez. With two outs in the second inning, Fernandez fanned Straily with a 97-mph fastball. It was the ace's 200th strikeout of the season, making him just the sixth pitcher in franchise history to reach the benchmark. Anibal Sanchez, with 202 in 2011, is the most recent. Fernandez entered the night two shy of 200, and he finished with six strikeouts. His 204 is third most in club history, and he should set the Marlins season mark in his next start. Ryan Dempster is the club leader with 209 in 2000. More >

"[Mattingly] took me out with [65] pitches in the fourth inning. Is it an outing? Obviously, I'm very disappointed with the way I came out today and how I let my team down and my teammates down. That's a more important part for me." -- Fernandez, on his short start

Ichiro had two more hits on Thursday, giving him 3,007 in his remarkable big league career, which matches Al Kaline for 28th place all-time. Next up for Ichiro is Wade Boggs at 3,010 hits.

Ichiro's 3,007th career hit

Marlins: The Marlins open a three-game series at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday at Pittsburgh. Tom Koehler (9-8, 3.86 ERA) goes for his 10th win. He is matched with right-hander Gerrit Cole (7-8, 3.25). Koehler is 0-4 with a 5.73 ERA lifetime against the Pirates, but he is 3-0 with a 1.36 ERA in his last five starts.

Reds: The homestand continues with the Reds hosting the Dodgers for the first of four games in a series that opens at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday. Tim Adleman is back in the rotation to make his first big league start since May. Shortstop Zack Cozart should also be back in the lineup after giving his sore right knee a rest Thursday.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.