Baseball / Sports

Latos, Reds send Marlins to third straight loss

MIAMI -- Tempting as it may be to pin Friday's loss on some post-catcher collision rule replay hangover, the reason is much simpler.

Blame the Broward kid.

Coconut Creek High School and Broward College product Mat Latos became the fourth straight starter to hold the Marlins to exactly one run while allowing five hits or fewer over seven innings. That effort helped deliver the Reds to a 5-2 win and spoil Jarred Cosart's Marlins' debut.

The Marlins (53-56) have lost three in a row and seven straight to the Reds dating back to last season. The Reds have won six of the eight all-time meetings at Marlins Park.

Stephen Strasburg and Tanner Roark for the Nationals, and Johnny Cueto on Thursday all stymied the Marlins through seven innings. Latos of the four gave up the most hits (five) and walks (four), but still limited the Marlins to a run.

For a second straight night, Giancarlo Stanton accounted for one his team's scores with a solo homer off the ribbon board above the visitors' bullpen. Stanton tagged Jonathan Broxton's first pitch of the game before Broxton retired the next three batters.

Stanton has homered in three straight games, giving him 143 for his career to tie him with Mike Lowell for third on the club's all-time list. He opened the weekend tied with Cubs' first baseman Anthony Rizzo for the league lead with 25.

Cosart cruised through the first three innings, retiring the first nine batters he faced on 37 pitches (26 strikes). He threw 12 of his first 13 pitches for strikes, mostly mid-90s fastballs.

Of Reds' first 16 hitters, Cosart failed to retire just three of them. Unfortunately for the Marlins those three opened the fourth inning with singles, the second of which was a Todd Frazier RBI-grounder through the right side that scored Billy Hamilton.

A prolific base stealer, Hamilton was on the move when Jay Bruce grounded a Cosart offering through the six-hole. The Marlins had shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria shaded up the middle with the left-handed hitting Bruce in the batters' box.

Cosart had one other stretch in the game during which he failed to retire three in a row. Before manager Mike Redmond summoned Chris Hatcher, Cosart sandwiched a Frazier infield hit around a pair of walks to leave the bases loaded.

The four-pitch base on balls to Bruce and the nine-pitch free pass to Devin Mesoraco were the only walks Cosart issued. Walks have been problematic for Cosart. While with the Astros he issued at least four in a game seven different times despite lowering his walks per nine from 5.3 during his 10-start, 2013 rookie season to 3.9 over his first 20 starts in 2014.

Hitless in three career at-bats, Cosart recorded his first major league hit -- an infield single to start the third. He made it into scoring position before Latos speared a Giancarlo Stanton one-hopper to initiate the inning-ending 1-4-3 double play.

That was one of six at-bats with runners in scoring position off Latos. Their lone hit in those situations was a Jordany Valdespin RBI-single to right in the fifth. Stanton (intentionally) and McGehee (unintentionally) followed with walks, but Garrett Jones grounded out 3-1 to end the inning.

Jones initially was ruled safe, giving the Marlins a 2-1 lead. The Reds challenged and the call was overturned.

Starting with that out, Latos retired the final six batters he faced to complete seven innings. One of those batters was Kike Hernandez, who the Marlins acquired along with Cosart from the Astros. Pinch-hitting to start the seventh, Hernandez hit a broken bat groundout to third.

Asked before the game how he planned to use the versatile Hernandez, manager Mike Redmond said: "I know he can do a bunch of different things, play second, outfield, third. We'll probably use him in a bunch of different roles, maybe get him in there at second in the next couple of days, give Casey 1/8McGehee3/8 a day off. We'll see how it goes. We can double-switch with him. He gives us a lot of flexibility."

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