Jesus Luzardo allowed just one hit in six scoreless innings and rookie Jesus Sanchez homered in the first inning for the second straight game, leading the host Miami Marlins to a 2-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon.
It was the second straight loss for the Reds, who started the day with a two-game lead over the San Diego Padres in the race for the second and final National League wild-card playoff berth.
Cincinnati managed just two hits off three Marlins pitchers, including a double by the game’s first batter, Jonathan India.
Luzardo (5-7) dominated after that, tying his career high with eight strikeouts while allowing just one walk. Acquired from the Oakland Athletics last month, Luzardo had struggled in his previous five starts with the Marlins, posting a 9.67 ERA while allowing 12.5 hits and 6.9 walks per nine innings.
Miami’s bullpen was solid as Anthony Bender pitched two scoreless innings, and Dylan Floro allowed one run in the ninth for his seventh save.
Sanchez, who has six homers this year, almost did it again in the sixth, but his drive was caught at the wall.
Still, he totaled 858 feet in his two homers the past two days. It is the first time he has homered in consecutive contests.
Tyler Mahle (10-5) took the loss, allowing four hits, two walks and two runs. He struck out six, but he got no offensive support while he was in the game.
Mahle almost got a run in the first as leadoff batter India doubled off the top of the left-field wall, missing a homer by inches before being stranded at second.
Miami got on the board in the bottom of the first as Jesus Aguilar singled, and Sanchez homered on a 3-2 fastball. The drive was measured at 415 feet.
In the ninth, India walked, advanced on Tyler Stephenson’s infield single and went to third on Nick Castellanos’ groundout before scoring on Joey Votto’s sacrifice fly.
But Floro struck out Kyle Farmer to end the game.
Reds center fielder Tyler Naquin reached on an error but went 0-for-2, snapping his 17-game hit streak, which had been the longest active run in the majors.
The Reds, upset with the strike zone all day, also had Eugenio Suarez ejected for arguing calls.
–Field Level Media