Rolen powers Reds past Florida in 10 innings
MIAMI — Scott Rolen homered in his first two at-bats, then put just enough muscle into his final swing to give the Cincinnati Reds a 10-inning win.
Rolen hit a liner off the end of the bat that barely cleared second baseman Dan Uggla’s glove, and the single drove in the go-ahead run Monday to help beat the Florida Marlins 6-5.
“The ball carried for me all night,” Rolen said. “All of a sudden I’m having a good year.”
He hit solo home runs in the second and fourth innings and has three homers this season after hitting 11 in 2009.
The Marlins nearly earned their third consecutive comeback win, twice erasing deficits, but missed a chance at victory in the bottom of the ninth. They loaded the bases with one out against Nick Masset (2-0), but he escaped when Ronny Paulino struck out and Cody Ross grounded out on a 3-2 sinker.
“I definitely made it interesting,” Masset said.
“I think I swung at ball four,” Ross said.
Reds manager Dusty Baker held his breath with the Marlins one pitch from winning on a walk-off walk.
“Man, that’s stuff you play as a kid,” he said. “You say, ‘Throw one more strike.”’
Florida went down in order in the 10th against Francisco Cordero, who earned his third save in three chances.
“It just didn’t work out in our favor,” Ross said. “We had been winning those kinds of games, but tonight you have to give them credit.”
Few saw the drama. Announced attendance was 10,119, and the actual crowd totaled about 3,000. Florida has finished last in the NL in attendance every year since 2005.
Joey Votto started the 10th with a walk against Burke Badenhop (0-1). He advanced on a sacrifice and scored on Rolen’s one-out single, which a leaping Uggla nearly caught.
“Talk about a game of inches,” Baker said.
Uggla went 4 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI.
Teammate Jorge Cantu hit a two-run double in the third, increasing his RBI total to 12. He has at least one hit and one RBI in each of the first seven games, the longest such streak to start a season in the NL since 2005.
Orlando Cabrera hit a two-run homer for the Reds.
Both starters labored. The Reds’ Johnny Cueto needed 110 pitches to get through five innings, and he gave up four runs. Ricky Nolasco gave up all three homers and allowed five runs in six innings.
The Marlins scored three times in the third to take a 4-2 lead. Cantu doubled in a pair of runs and scored on Uggla’s double.
Pinch-hitter Paulino’s infield single with two out in the seventh tied it at 5.
The Reds went ahead 2-0 in the second inning when they bunched three consecutive hits — Rolen’s homer, a double by Jay Bruce and Laynce Nix’s RBI single.
“We can’t play catch-up baseball every night,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “You can’t have those types of games every night.”
The Marlins, last in the majors in fielding, made one costly defensive mistake. Drew Stubbs reached on a single to start the fifth when shortstop Hanley Ramirez slipped fielding his routine grounder. Two pitches later, Cabrera homered for a 5-4 Cincinnati lead.
Florida loaded the bases in the second but scored only once — when Gaby Sanchez grounded into a double play.
NOTES: Rolen had his 20th multihomer game but his first since Sept. 15, 2006. … Reds RHP Bronson Arroyo, scheduled to start Tuesday, is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in four career games in Miami. … Marlins CF Cameron Maybin robbed Votto with a diving catch in the seventh. … Bruce had two hits and snapped an 0-for-17 slump.