CINCINNATI (AP) Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Joey Votto homered on consecutive pitches by Eury Pérez in the fourth inning, and the Cincinnati Reds stopped a six-game slide by holding off the Miami Marlins for a 5-2 victory on Monday night.
TJ Friedl had two hits and two RBIs as Cincinnati improved to 10-14 since the All-Star break. The six-game slide matched the season high for the Reds (60-55), who remain in the thick of the playoff race.
“We’ve got less than two months to go,” Votto said. "Everybody is going to contribute. We’re going to need everybody to contribute. I’d like to be a part of that group. That’s where my head’s at.”
Cincinnati rookie Brandon Williamson (4-2) struck out a career-high nine in 6 2/3 innings. The left-hander allowed one run and three hits.
“It was just when we needed it the most for sure," manager David Bell said. “Not only for the win, (but) how much we’ve used our bullpen. It was the best we’ve seen him.”
Jorge Soler and Jazz Chisholm Jr. homered for Miami in its fifth straight loss. The Marlins (58-56) finished with five hits and two errors.
“Keep fighting,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “We’re in this. There are all kinds of teams that are pushing to get into wild-card spots or win divisions. The Reds are one of them. We’re right there with them.”
Bryan De La Cruz and Jake Burger opened the ninth with consecutive walks for Miami. But All-Star closer Alexis Díaz struck out Jesús Sánchez on a foul tip and got pinch-hitter Luis Arraez to bounce into a game-ending double play.
It was Díaz's 33rd save in 34 opportunities.
The 20-year-old Pérez was charged with four runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-8 right-hander struck out seven and walked two.
“It meant a lot to just see him walk through those doors today,” Schumaker said. "You like to write his name down every fifth or sixth day, whatever we decide to do. I thought he did a really good job in his first start back.”
It was Pérez's first big league start since July 6. He was optioned to Double-A after eclipsing his career high in innings.
Soler hit his 27th homer in the first and Pérez (5-4) retired his first seven batters, striking out the side in the second. But Will Benson and Elly De La Cruz walked ahead of Friedl's two-run triple in the third.
“These batters are veteran batters, they know their stuff,” Pérez said through a translator. “Some of the walks didn't help me, mostly in that third inning. The changeup location was working very well. I was happy to get the opportunity.”
Encarnacion-Strand and Votto went deep on Pérez’s first two pitches in the fourth. It was the second homer for Encarnacion-Strand and 13th of the season for Votto.
“The beginning of the game, I thought they were going to ambush the fastball,” Schumaker said. “They were on it. Second time around, they connected.”
Chisolm, who didn’t play on Sunday due to a right hamstring cramp, recorded his first career pinch-hit homer in the eighth.
Marlins left fielder Avisaíl García was ejected in the fifth by plate umpire Roberto Ortiz. García had words with Ortiz after a borderline pitch earlier in his at-bat. After striking out swinging, García began shouting at Ortiz and was ejected.
In the eighth, Schumaker was ejected by Ortiz following a discussion at the mound while a trainer checked on left-hander Tanner Scott.
“Umpires make mistakes at times,” Schumaker said. “We feel like it becomes one-sided a little bit. You have to protect your players and say some things. Roberto's a good guy. Just a disagreement today on the strike zone.”
Marlins: RHP Tommy Nance (right shoulder sprain) will make a rehab appearance for Double-A Pensacola on Tuesday.
Reds: RHP Casey Legumina (right shoulder pain) was reinstated from the injured list and optioned to Triple-A Louisville. ... LHP Alex Young (back spasms) was not available Monday and is day to day.
Miami LHP Braxton Garrett (5-3, 4.14 ERA) is 0-2 in three career starts vs. Cincinnati. Reds RHP Luke Weaver (2-4, 6.98 ERA) has allowed 28 of his 71 runs in the first inning. Garrett and Weaver face off on Tuesday.
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