MIAMI (AP) -- Brandon Claussen got the help he needed to end his six-game losing streak.
Claussen and three relievers combined on a four-hitter Sunday, helping the Cincinnati Reds snap a three-game skid with a 2-1 victory over the Florida Marlins.Claussen (1-1) allowed three hits, struck out three, walked three and hit a batter in 5 1/3 innings, winning for the first time since Aug. 22."Oh man, there's no way I could have gotten a win if it weren't for the bullpen," Claussen said. "It was a real team effort."My arm was a little tired. I hadn't pitched this consistently in a while. My arm wasn't feeling that great but we battled through it," he said.Joe Valentine and Ryan Wagner pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings before Danny Graves struggled through the ninth to earn his seventh save in as many chances. He walked two and gave up a broken-bat RBI single to pinch-hitter Miguel Cabrera before striking out Juan Pierre with runners on first and second.The Reds scored their runs on a first-inning groundout and on Damion Easley's error in the third.Marlins starter Brian Moehler (1-1) allowed two runs -- one earned -- struck out five and walked one in seven innings. It was his longest outing since pitching seven innings for Cincinnati on Aug. 16, 2002, against Houston.Moehler's previous start, when he went five innings to beat Washington on Tuesday, was the first time he had pitched at least five innings since April 11, 2003. He pitched in the minor leagues last season after suffering a shoulder injury in 2003.Sean Casey had three hits and an RBI for Cincinnati. Ryan Freel
added two hits and scored both two runs."Moehler pitched great, but luckily for us, Claussen matched him pitch for pitch," Casey said. "Our pitching really did the job for us today and we were able to get a couple of runs across."Freel opened the game by lining a single to left. He stole second, took third on Ken Griffey Jr.'s grounder and scored on Casey's groundout, which Moehler nearly grabbed to his right."I wish I could have fielded that ball," Moehler said. "I would have kept the run from scoring. That's the way it goes."Freel also started the third with a single and advanced to second on Griffey's infield single. When Casey followed with hard grounder that was smothered by Easley, Freel initially stopped at third. He scored when the second baseman threw wildly toward first."My foot came out from under me when I was throwing," Easley said."I was checking out [third base coach] Mark Berry to see if he was holding me," Freel said. "As soon as I saw the ball on the edge of the outfield grass, I thought I had a chance to make it home, so I kept on going."Florida's most serious threat before the ninth came in the second, when Mike Lowell's lined double to left put runners on second and third with one out. After Jeff Conine struck out, Alex Gonzalez was walked intentionally and Moehler grounded out to Claussen."I didn't have very good command of my changeup and that's usually my 'get me out of a jam' pitch," Claussen said. "So I had to bet on locating my fastball."The Marlins also failed to score despite having two runners on with one out in the fourth and sixth."We couldn't get the key hit," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "One hit could have broke the game open."
Neither team took pregame batting or fielding practice on the field because there was a home run derby involving the World Softball League All-Stars. ... Griffey went 1-for-4 and extended his career-high homerless streak to start a season to 59 at-bats. ... The Marlins are 0-7 in games in which they have scored less than four runs. ... Florida will begin an eight-game road trip on Tuesday at Colorado.