Red-hot Joey Votto leads Reds against Marlins

MLB Baseball

Homer-happy Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds will attempt to continue the road misery of the Miami Marlins while in hot pursuit of a postseason berth, as the four-game weekend series continues Friday in Cincinnati.

After dropping two straight at home to the Chicago Cubs, helping Chicago end their 12-game losing streak, the Reds received a much-needed boost from two of their stars Thursday night in a 6-1 win over the Marlins.

Votto continued his epic month of August with his 16th homer in his last 28 games – and 27th overall – a three-run blast to right in the fourth that awoke a sluggish Reds offense that had scored just one run in each of their two previous losses to the Cubs.

During his home run trot, Votto pointed to a four-year-old boy wearing a Votto jersey in the left field bleachers and doing the Jamie Tartt thumb-point to the back of his jersey, a move from the “Ted Lasso” Apple TV show made famous by Votto during his recent home run surge.

“The runs last couple of days have been a little tough to come by. Home runs can turn the momentum. The home run, that one in particular, gave (Luis Castillo) some room to pitch,” Reds manager David Bell said.

The home run erased a 1-0 Miami lead.

“Joey doesn’t leave the zone very often,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “You don’t catch him chasing. He forces you into the strike zone, uses the whole ballpark. If you miss in his area, he doesn’t seem to miss very often, especially this year.”

Votto tied Frank Robinson Thursday for third place all-time on Cincinnati’s runs scored list with 1,091. He now sits two home runs shy of Robinson for second place on the franchise’s all-time home run list with 322.

Most importantly for Cincinnati, the win drew the Reds within one game of the San Diego Padres for the second and final wild-card spot in the National League.

“They’re all going to be really important the rest of the way,” Bell said. “I know our players were really determined to do whatever we could to get a win (Thursday).”

With the loss, the Marlins fell to 21-41 on the road this season, the fourth-worst road mark in the National League.

The Marlins will send right-hander Elieser Hernandez (0-0, 2.84 ERA) to the mound Friday night in search of his first win of the season and just his second big league victory since 2019. Hernandez has allowed four runs and nine hits over 12 2/3 innings, covering three Major League starts this season. His WHIP is an impressive 0.789. Hernandez has faced the Reds just once in his four-year career, giving up two runs and three hits over two innings in a 4-2 Miami loss on Sept. 20, 2018.

The Reds counter with right-hander Sonny Gray (4-6, 4.47), who will be making his 19th start of the season, and first against Miami. Gray fell one out shy of qualifying for the win last Sunday in Philadelphia when he allowed four hits and three runs in 4 2/3 innings of a 7-4 Cincinnati win.

Lifetime, Gray has faced Miami four times and is 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA, with a win apiece for Oakland and Cincinnati.

Reds manager David Bell also said Thursday that All-Star outfielder Jesse Winker (intercostal strain) could be out longer than just the 10 days of the injured list designation.

–Field Level Media

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