Ozuna extends streak and delivers clutch homer

Hand allows just one run in 6 1/3 as offense comes through in ninth

Ozuna extends streak and delivers clutch homer

PHOENIX -- Down a run going to the top of the ninth, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria asked how hard D-backs closer Addison Reed threw.

Marcell Ozuna told him, "I don't know, but he's going to lose anyway."

Ozuna, who extended his hitting streak to 14 games, proved prophetic in that respect, but what he didn't know beforehand was that he'd be the one to hit a crushed line drive off the camera well in center field to give the Marlins a 2-1 win against the D-backs on Tuesday at Chase Field.

"I think somebody's going to make one run, tie the game, and I can get an RBI," Ozuna said. "But God gave me an opportunity and gave me that chance."

Reed had been scuffling coming into the game, having blown two of his previous five save attempts. He relies primarily on his fastball, using only two offspeed pitches out of the 21 he threw. The fateful pitch to Ozuna was a 92-mph fastball low and inside on a 2-2 count, leaving Reed one strike away from clinching the series for the D-backs.

"He's got to mix his pitches," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Ozuna's a very good fastball hitter. He was trying to get the ball down and away, and it was basically middle-third in, and he got it all."

Ozuna said he knew the ball was gone the instant he it.

"I [thought] it was going to be a home run because I feel it in my bat," Ozuna said. "When I make good contact, I feel it in my bat."

Ozuna's home run salvaged what would have been a tough loss for the Marlins. The one run starter Brad Hand surrendered in the fifth inning was unearned, and the offense just couldn't put it together for the first eight innings.

"That was quite a finish there," manager Mike Redmond said. "We've been waiting for that big hit for a couple days now."

Vidal Nuno, who was making his first start for the D-backs since being traded from the Yankees, mystified Marlins hitters for most of the game.

Nuno pitched a career-high seven scoreless innings while striking out a career-best seven batters. He gave up only three hits, and no runner got past second base against him.

Hand consistently matched Nuno, though. Hand went 6 1/3 innings and worked out of three jams where the D-backs had a pair of runners in scoring position.

"You just got to go out there and try to match what he does," Hand said. "He goes out and throws scoreless, you got to go out there and throw another scoreless."

After Hand left the game, the Marlins' bullpen stepped up and kept their team within a run. Sam Dyson, Bryan Morris and Mike Dunn combined to pitch 1 2/3 scoreless innings before Steve Cishek closed to the door in the ninth and picked up his 20th save of the season.

"Tonight was one of those nights. It doesn't seem like there was going to be a whole lot going on out there," Redmond said. "Waiting for the big hit. They scored early, and we got the bigger hit."

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.