Marlins rough up Cueto to clinch series with Reds

Marlins rough up Cueto to clinch series with Reds

Marlins rough up Cueto to clinch series with Reds
MIAMI -- No matter where the Marlins are in the standings, Mark Buehrle is still pitching with pride and a purpose.

The veteran is aiming to finish up strong, while extending a personal milestone.

Buehrle achieved both on Saturday night, striking out seven while allowing four runs in 7 2/3 innings in the Marlins' 6-4 win over the Reds in front of 27,502 at Marlins Park.

The left-hander is aiming to reach the 200-innings mark for the 12th straight season. And he's up to 188 1/3 innings after a solid performance.

"When we signed this kid, we knew what we were going to get, lose or win," said Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, who had Buehrle during their years together with the White Sox. "He's going to give you everything out there. When you have a guy for a little while, you have a lot of confidence the night before he pitches, because you know he's going to give you a good game most of the time."

Buehrle (13-12) had his longest stint since July 5, when he threw 7 2/3 innings in a victory at Milwaukee. Steve Cishek locked down the ninth for his 14th save, giving the Marlins their second straight win.

Aiming to give Buehrle every chance to reach 200 innings, the Marlins readjusted their six-man rotation. The lefty now will have three more starts, including the season finale on Oct. 3 against the Mets at Marlins Park.

But if Buehrle is able to reach the milestone in his next two starts, it is likely that he will not take the mound for that third start. That's what he's hoping for, so Wade LeBlanc won't have to be moved to the bullpen.

"Obviously, I'm thankful they're switching the rotation up to give me an extra start. But at the same time, I told the rest of the starters I kind of feel bad," Buehrle said. "I don't want it to be about me and about numbers, about trying to get to 200 innings. Obviously, we're pretty much out of it.

"The guys are playing for numbers and stuff, but we're still trying to win games. I don't want to take a start away from other guys just so I can get to 200 innings. I told them, 'Hopefully, I can get to it in my next two starts, and that last start, if I get there, they might give it up.'

"I kind of hope it's that way, so I'm not making guys miss a start or LeBlanc go to the bullpen."

The Marlins gave Buehrle some run support and a cushion to go deep into the game.

Carlos Lee belted a two-run homer and drove in three runs as the Marlins were able to tag Johnny Cueto for six runs in 4 1/3 innings.

"I think it was an unbelievable job of hitting," Guillen said. "Great approaches at the plate. We got big hits. We didn't try to do too much."

On Friday night, behind Jacob Turner's seven strong innings, the Marlins combined to shut out the Reds, 4-0. It was just the third time all season Cincinnati failed to score a run.

"I got on Turner for shutting them out last night," Buehrle joked to the rookie right-hander. "They're obviously bound to score some runs when they're 30 games over .500. That's a pretty good team out there. Thankfully, we scored some runs early. We got a lead. I went out there trying to keep them off base."

Buehrle was an out away from a cleaner outing. But with two outs in the eighth inning, Joey Votto doubled, and Ryan Ludwick belted a two-run homer. Mike Dunn entered in relief and retired Jay Bruce on a pop fly to third.

"It's always nice to get runs early," Buehrle said. "I felt good. I think I ran out of gas there a little bit at the end."

Cueto, a Cy Young candidate seeking his 18th win, was tagged for a season-high six earned runs. The right-hander had allowed six runs on May 15 at Atlanta, but five runs were earned.

Lee's two-run homer highlighted a three-run fifth inning.

"In that situation, I was ahead in the count, and he threw the ball right down the middle," Lee said. "I would say he couldn't spot his breaking ball for a strike consistently. And we weren't swinging. That's the key right there. We were patient enough to stay off his pitches. I think that was the key, he couldn't spot his breaking ball, and we were patient."

Justin Ruggiano doubled and scored on Jose Reyes' RBI double. With one out, Lee connected on his ninth homer of the season.

Miami strung together three straight hits in the first inning and took an early three-run lead.

Ruggiano and Reyes singled, and both scored on Giancarlo Stanton's triple to right field. It was Stanton's first three-base hit of the season, and it came on his 421st at-bat.

Stanton scored on Lee's sacrifice fly.

After going up by three early, Buehrle was able to preserve the lead.

"Buehrle knows what he's doing," Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan said. "He knows how to pitch. He reads swings. He can change speeds. He's got a good cutter, good changeup. He used all his pitches. I think we missed some pitches. I think we got some pitches to hit and we didn't hit them. He got the job done."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.