The series was all about the bullpen for Miami, as they swept the Reds at home for the first time since 1995. It was their third series sweep of the season, and first since early May against the Diamondbacks.
Throughout the entire series the bullpen threw 10.1 innings of shutout baseball, allowing just six hits and one walk, while striking out 12.
The Marlins went four deep into the pen on Saturday night and went even deeper Sunday afternoon in the impressive victories. Mike Dunn, Nick Wittgren, Kyle Barraclough and Dustin McGowan all came into the game in relief of Tom Koehler, who got off to a shaky start with a very high pitch count.
Koehler (6-7) received a no-decision, as he allowed three earned runs, seven hits and one walk, while striking out two in four innings of work. His breaking balls and off-speed pitches were working very well, but he had trouble locating his fastballs throughout. His day came to an end after allowing five consecutive hits to lead off the fifth that put the Reds ahead 3-2.
That fifth inning was the only stain on a solid overall performance for the Marlins.
Offensively, the National League leaders in batting average went off. Miguel Rojas started the hitting for Miami in the second inning. Adeiny Hechavarria hit a double on the very next pitch that scored Rojas to tie the game at one. Hechavarria scored two batters later on a passed ball that ran 30 yards up the first-baseline to give Miami a 2-1 lead.
Martin Prado recorded his second double of the day in the fifth inning, and advanced to third after another wild pitch. Giancarlo Stanton came to bat with two outs and Prado on third, and crushed a fastball to left. It was his 20th homer of the season and gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead.
The offense would come alive in the sixth inning as well, after a lead-off infield single by Rojas. He was initially called out, but replay showed he was clearly safe setting up a beautifully placed sacrifice bunt by Hechavarria. J.T. Realmuto came up next and hit a single to center that scored Rojas extending Miami's lead to 5-3. Realmuto then took advantage of his speed and stole second and third base on consecutive pitches. Prado, who reached base in all five of his at-bats, drew his second of three walks setting up Christian Yelich's two RBI-double. Yelich went 3-5 with two singles and a double.
Those middle innings would wind up being the deciding factor in an impressive victory for the Marlins. The win put Miami at 47-41 and in a tie with the New York Mets for second place in the Wild Card race. It's their second best start in franchise history, and they will look to continue their winning ways after the All Star Break in St. Louis.
Hero of the Game: Giancarlo Stanton (+.270)
Goat of the Game: Cody Reed (-.330)
Play of the Game: Giancarlo Stanton's two-run homer in the fifth inning (+.293)