One day after Miami's Justin Ruggiano hit a game-winning home run in the ninth inning, Brandon Phillips hit a sacrifice fly to center field off Steve Cishek to score Shin-Soo Choo and give the Reds a 3-2, 13-inning win in front of 35,645 at Great American Ball Park on Saturday.
"We did all the things we needed to do," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We got guys in scoring position. We just couldn't get that big hit again. Same old story."
Reds manager Dusty Baker was happy to get the win -- but not happy with leaving 17 men on base.
"The key is opportunities," Baker said. "We wanted to score long before that."
It was the second low-scoring game between the two clubs in as many days.
Reds starter Bronson Arroyo entered the game 1-4 with a 4.22 ERA in 10 career starts against the Marlins, but was on cruise control throughout. He pitched eight innings, struck out six and allowed two runs on six hits.
Arroyo's last two outings have come on the heels of Reds losses. His last start, against Philadelphia, ended a five-game losing streak, while this start ensured that the Reds will at least split the four-game series.
Offensively, the Reds have been all-or-nothing lately -- they had scored one run or 11 runs in each of their previous four games -- and struggled to get timely hitting Saturday.
Joey Votto, who entered the game in a 1-for-12 skid, went 4-for-6 with a home run and two RBIs. The homer, estimated at 353 feet, was a solo shot that just cleared the wall in right field. His fourth-inning single to right scored Devin Mesoraco to give the Reds a 2-0 advantage.
Choo, meanwhile, reached base in six of his seven plate appearances. He went 3-for-4 with three walks and a stolen base.
Marlins starter Wade LeBlanc entered the game with a career 2-0 record and 2.25 ERA against the Reds, but labored through four innings. The Reds stranded five runners through the first two innings, but broke through in the third and fourth. LeBlanc threw 85 pitches and allowed two runs on seven hits to go with three walks and two strikeouts.
"It was terrible," LeBlanc said of his start. "About the only silver lining was I was able to keep us close enough to come back and tie the game. Other than that, my job was to save the bullpen, and I did pretty much the opposite. The defense, offense and bullpen did an unbelievable job keeping us in the game."
LeBlanc allowed two earned runs in each of his first two starts this season, but has been shaky in back-to-back outings, allowing a combined 16 hits and nine runs in 7 2/3 innings.
"I needed a lot better bounceback game after the game against the Nationals," LeBlanc said. "I wasn't able to go out there today and give this team what we needed -- which was innings and a chance to win."
The Marlins had four hits -- including an RBI single by Joe Mahoney and an RBI double by Miguel Olivo -- to tie the game at 2 in the fifth. Mahoney's single, which whizzed past the glove of Reds starter Bronson Arroyo and into center, was his first big league hit.
Giancarlo Stanton went 1-for-5 with an infield single and a stolen base. He has struck out 17 times in 42 at-bats this season and is 2-for-13 (.154) since returning from the disabled list before the series started. He has no homers, no RBIs and is batting .163 on the season.
"He's a big bat in our lineup, and he just hasn't gotten it going yet," Redmond said. "We definitely need him."
The Marlins have struck out 34 times in this series and 42 times in their last four games.
The bullpen, however, was a bright spot.
Tom Koehler, who was called up from Triple-A New Orleans on Friday after John Maine was designated for assignment, pitched two scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth. He had two walks and one strikeout.
In the seventh, Marlins reliever Chad Qualls retired Chris Heisey via the infield fly rule -- no Marlin actually caught the ball -- and struck out Mesoraco to get out of a bases-loaded jam, while A.J. Ramos pitched the eighth and ninth, striking out four and allowing no runs.
In all, the Marlins' bullpen pitched eight shutout innings until Cishek allowed the sacrifice fly to Phillips.
"Could not ask a group of guys to do more than they've done," Redmond said. "Guys have stepped up in different situations, different roles. They've kept us in the game. They've been phenomenal.
The Marlins are 3-5 in their last eight games after starting the season 1-9, but have scored just six runs in their last four games. They haven't won back-to-back games all season.
"We'll just keep battling," Redmond said, "and eventually we'll get on the other end of this and get some big hits."