Cantu adds to record, Reds’ misery in 10-2 romp
MIAMI — Jorge Cantu saw the pitch bounce in the dirt, giving Hanley Ramirez plenty of time to move up to second base and into scoring position.
He instantly felt relaxed.
One pitch later, Cantu extended his major league season-opening record to 10 games with a hit and an RBI by lofting a double to right-center, and the Florida Marlins went on to salvage a four-game series split by beating the Cincinnati Reds 10-2 Thursday night.
“Hopefully I can continue to ride this, see where it takes me,” Cantu said. “I don’t know when it’s going to come to an end. But right now, I’m happy.”
So were a slew of other people in the Florida clubhouse.
Josh Johnson struck out 10 in six innings of easy work, Cody Ross was 3 for 5 with two doubles and three RBIs, and Cameron Maybin — who typically wears No. 24 in part to honor Jackie Robinson — hit his first homer of the season and the sixth of his career for Florida.
All players and coaches wore jerseys with No. 42 on the back Thursday, part of baseball’s annual tribute to Robinson.
“It’s nice, it’s really nice just to play well,” Maybin said. “But to get a win and a split was even bigger.”
Chris Dickinson and Jonny Gomes each had two hits and scored a run for Cincinnati. The Reds struck out 14 times, and starter Aaron Harang (0-2) allowed eight runs and 10 hits in four-plus innings.
“I thought I made some good pitches and they hit them,” Harang said.
So far, Cincinnati’s starters are 0-3 with a 5.43 ERA.
“Somebody’s got to find a horseshoe around here,” Harang said. “We’ve been fighting every night. You can’t overlook that.”
Johnson (1-1) allowed five hits in six innings and missed tying a career high by one strikeout.
Harang got into big trouble in the fifth, thanks in part to a wild pitch.
Ramirez led off with a single and the Reds were determined to keep him on first, throwing over and then calling a pitchout on the second offering to Cantu. On a 2-2 count, Harang’s fastball was in the dirt, squirting away from catcher Ramon Hernandez and allowing Ramirez to get to second.
Cantu made the mistake a costly one.
“You’ve got to pull out a fire hose to cool him off right now,” Harang said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Ramirez scored easily and another meager Florida crowd — announced at 12,912, clearly about one-fifth that many — stood and cheered Cantu, who waved from second while umpire Jeff Kellogg threw the ball toward the Marlins’ dugout for safekeeping.
“He drives them in, but you need people on base for that to happen,” Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “That’s not easy. So the guys in front of him are getting on base and we’re running the bases well. It’s an RBI thing because he’s getting the RBI, but there’s the team out there getting bases.”
Harang allowed eight runs and 10 hits in four-plus innings, his ERA soaring from 4.50 to 7.88.
Before Cantu’s run to open 2010, the previous major league record for having at least one hit and one RBI in every game to start the season had been eight, set back in 1921 by George Kelly of the New York Giants, a year after RBIs became an official statistic.
Cantu tied the Marlins’ single-season record for consecutive games with a hit and an RBI, set last season by Ramirez. Including last season, Cantu has 14 consecutive games with a hit and an RBI, the longest string since Mike Piazza went 15 straight from June 14-July 2, 2000.
He had a chance earlier in Thursday’s game to extend the streak, coming up with one out and runners on first and second in the third inning. Harang was super-cautious on that trip, going outside with three straight fastballs, catching the corner with another for strike one, then walking Cantu on a pitch low and away.
There was a smattering of boos from the small crowd then, all forgotten when Cantu got the hit two innings later.
“It’s fun to watch,” Johnson said.
Ross followed with a two-run double, John Baker added an RBI single to make it 8-1, and Ross knocked in Cantu again with another double in the sixth.
NOTES: Uggla already has two games this season with three hits or more. It took him until July 9 last season to have two of those. … Harang had allowed only nine hits in his first two starts this season. … Two-time Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Misty May-Treanor threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches. May-Treanor, the wife of former Marlins catcher Matt Treanor and still a South Florida resident, returns to the AVP Tour when its season opens this weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.