CINCINNATI (AP) — Control had not been a problem for Brad Hand as a starting pitcher, until the fifth inning of the Miami left-hander’s start on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds.
Hand issued three walks in the inning, more than he’d allowed in any of previous nine starts this season. The Reds capitalized with five runs, including Devin Mesoraco’s grand slam, on their way to a 7-2 victory over the Marlins.
“I had three walks, and they scored five runs,” Hand said. “I didn’t lose location. I made some good pitches. I just missed a little bit.”
Mesoraco homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs, denying the Marlins their first sweep of the Reds since May 2003.
Hand walked Ramon Santiago to start the fifth, but he still was one pitch from getting out of the inning with runners on second and third and two outs before issuing back-to-back walks to Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier. He especially regretted walking the left-handed hitting Bruce.
“I had the guy I wanted up there, but I couldn’t make the pitch,” he said. “I’ve got to finish the inning and get out of there.”
Miami manager Mike Redmond was hoping to nurse Hand through the fifth. Instead, Mesoraco followed the walk to Frazier with his second homer of the game and 20th of the season, a 371-foot drive into the left-field seats.
“He had two outs, and he made a couple of great pitches (to Bruce),” Redmond said. “It would have been nice to get through with just the one run.”
Mesoraco leads all major league catchers with 20 home runs and the National League with three grand slams.
The fifth-inning outburst gave Johnny Cueto (14-6) some breathing room. In eight innings, he allowed five hits — two homers — with two walks and nine strikeouts. He improved to 6-0 in his last seven starts.
Hand (2-4) allowed five hits and seven runs with three walks — all of them in the fifth — and two strikeouts.
Giancarlo Stanton, the NL’s home run and RBI leader, lined his 29th homer with two outs in the first for a 1-0 Miami lead.
Mesoraco gave the Reds a 2-1 lead in the first with his first homer in 10 games since July 30, a 390-foot blast that bounced off the roof of the Cincinnati bullpen in left-center with Bruce on first and two outs.
Casey McGehee tied the game with his third homer of the year, a 383-foot shot to left with one out in the fourth.
Marlins: The Marlins, who took a series from St. Louis in early July for the first time since 2009, will try to make it two straight over the Cardinals. Their three-game set in Miami begins Monday with right-hander Tom Koehler taking the mound.
Reds: Right-hander Mat Latos tries to improve his career interleague record to 10-3 in 18 starts on Tuesday in the opener of a two-game home series against Boston.
Reds: Pena’s injury forced him out of Friday’s game after two innings and limited him to a pinch-hit appearance on Saturday.
HOME RUN DERBY DROUGHT
Todd Frazier has not homered in his last 20 games and has just one home run since reaching the finals of the All-Star game Home Run Derby. Frazier has hit .310 in his last 14 games and doesn’t feel the skills competition affected his swing. “If I was struggling I might think that,” Frazier said. “Home runs come in bunches. I might hit three or four in a week. In Double-A in 2010 I went my first 115 at-bats without a home run and ended up with 17.”
Johnny Cueto, nicknamed “Johnny Beisbol” by his teammates, is 9-1 in his last 10 decisions.
Stanton’s homer was his fourth of the season off Reds’ pitching, the most against any opponent. He has hit two off Cueto.
WINLESS IN CINCINNATI
Marlins left-handed starters are 0-6 in Cincinnati since Dontrelle Willis beat the Reds on August 7, 2005.
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