CINCINNATI (AP) — Chris Johnson isn’t ready to replace Giancarlo Stanton’s power in Miami’s lineup, but he did a good impression of the injured slugger on Monday.
The Marlins’ first baseman drove in two runs with a homer and a double, former reliever David Phelps pitched into the sixth inning in his third start of the season and the Marlins opened their four-game series in Cincinnati with a 6-3 victory.
Johnson’s fifth home run of the season barely cleared the wall down the right field line before dropping into the visitors’ bullpen.
“It felt good off the barrel,” he said. “When I hit the ball the other way, I don’t necessarily expect it to go out, but I hit it pretty good. It wouldn’t have a home run at our place. That’s for sure, so I’m glad I hit it here.
“I’m not going to make up for Giancarlo’s power,” he added. “Don’t look at me.”
Marcell Ozuna also homered and Dee Gordon beat Joey Votto’s high toss to pitcher Blake Wood covering first base for a bases-loaded, two-run infield single for Miami, which has won two straight games after a three-game losing streak. Both wins have come since Stanton was lost on Saturday for what is expected to be at least six weeks with a groin injury
Bench coach Tim Wallach, who took over when manager Don Mattingly was ejected in the third inning, expects efforts such as Johnson’s will help make up for losing Stanton.
“You can’t replace him, but we understand that we can win with whoever we send out there,” Wallach said. “We’ve done it all year.”
The Marlins went into Monday one-half game behind St. Louis for the National League’s second wild-card slot.
Phelps (6-6) struck out the side in the first on his way to a season-high eight — one short of matching his career high — while allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings. He gave up four hits with one walk.
“I try to treat every inning like a hold situation,” Phelps said. “That’s kind of the way I’m taking it right now.”
Scott Schebler drove in two of Cincinnati’s runs with a homer and a bases-loaded walk. His solo homer in the second snapped an 0-for-28 slump.
Gordon led off the game with a double to right and scored on Martin Prado’s single on the 12th pitch of his at-bat against Brandon Finnegan. Johnson snapped a 1-1 tie with his first homer since July 20.
Ozuna stretched the lead with a homer to lead off the sixth, his 20th of the season and first since July 30.
Finnegan (7-9), 2-0 in his last three starts and 4-1 over his last six, allowed seven hits and four runs with three walks and three strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
“I made a lot of good pitches today,” Finnegan said. “I had bad luck on two routine fly balls that carried out. I’ve been going deep into games all year. There were just a few games that I didn’t.”
Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 21st save.
REED REGROUPING: The Reds optioned winless LHP Cody Reed to Triple-A Louisville before Tuesday’s game. Reed allowed six runs in Cincinnati’s 7-3 loss at Milwaukee on Sunday before being pulled in the second inning. He is 0-7 with a 7.36 ERA in 10 starts.
EARLY NIGHT: Mattingly was ejected in the bottom of the third by plate umpire Bill Welke after complaining to the third base umpire about a ruling that Tucker Barnhart didn’t swing at a pitch. The ejection was Mattingly’s third of the season.
HITLESS IN CINCY: Ichiro Suzuki went 0 for 4 on Monday to fall to 0 for 7 in his career at Great American Ball Park, the only existing stadium in which he’s failed to record a hit.
Marlins: RHP A.J. Ramos threw on Monday for the first time since going on the DL on Aug. 6 with a fractured finger on his right hand. Depending on how he feels, the next step would be a bullpen on Tuesday, Mattingly said.
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton left Monday’s game after five innings with a right knee contusion. Hamilton banged into the center field wall and the left-center field chain-link fence going after balls in the first three innings.
Marlins: Miami announced after the game that RHP Jose Urena (1-3) would be recalled from Triple-A New Orleans to start Tuesday’s second game of the series against the Reds.
Reds: Ex-Marlin RHP Anthony DeSclafani (6-1) is scheduled to make his second career start against his former team on Tuesday. DeSclafani is coming off his first loss of the season, 3-2 last Wednesday at St Louis.
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