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MIA@CIN: Buehrle picks off Votto to end the third

CINCINNATI -- It's much too early to call it a slump, with the regular season just two days old. But the Miami Marlins still are waiting for their bats to wake up.

Less than 24 hours after being held hitless through six innings by Kyle Lohse, the Marlins on Thursday were stymied by Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto, who allowed just three hits in seven innings in a 4-0 Miami loss before a regular-season-record crowd of 42,956 on Opening Day at Great American Ball Park.

The Marlins have scored one run and collected seven hits in 18 innings to begin the season.

"We have to regroup," said manager Ozzie Guillen. "We can't try to get two hits in one at-bat. With the day off tomorrow, maybe we can clear our minds. We're putting too much pressure on ourselves."

Cueto (1-0) walked two and struck out four in seven innings, helping the Reds complete their first Opening Day shutout since 1980.

Left-hander Mark Buehrle, making his Marlins and National League debut, battled for six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out five in a 108-pitch effort.

Buehrle (0-1) labored in the first inning, throwing 28 pitches while giving up one run and hitting a batter.

"I got myself into some jams, and I worked out of some," Buehrle said. "It's a little colder and drier here than it was in Miami. I had some trouble gripping the ball."

Jet lag might've been a factor too for the Marlins, who arrived in Cincinnati at around 3 a.m. ET following Wednesday night's inaugural opener at Marlins Park. But the Marlins shrugged off that notion.

"We know our pitchers are doing their jobs and we're not," said Gaby Sanchez, who doubled in the seventh for one of Miami's three hits. "We just have to let it happen. There are expectations for this team. We know that as players."

Buehrle has been a workhorse throughout his 11-year career. Since 2001, he leads the Major Leagues in innings pitched.

But while he has a 1.29 ERA in three career starts against Cincinnati, the Reds put the pressure on Buehrle early, loading the bases with one out in the first. Jay Bruce made a bid for a grand slam when he hit a loud foul deep into the right-field seats. He settled for a sacrifice fly moments later, putting Cincinnati ahead, 1-0.

Emilio Bonifacio's infield single leading off the fourth was Miami's first hit off Cueto. But the Marlins' center fielder was picked off first by Cueto moments later.

Buehrle struck out the side in the fifth, including Joey Votto swinging to end the inning.

"Buehrle will give you what he's got," Guillen said. "He was overly excited out there early in the game. Our pitching's been good. That's the good thing."

The Marlins made some noise with one out in the sixth. Jose Reyes slapped a single to left for the second Marlins hit, and Bonifacio followed with a walk. The hit extended Reyes' hitting streak to 10 games, dating back to Sept. 20, 2011.

But Cueto struck out Hanley Ramirez swinging and Reyes, attempting to steal third on the pitch, was retired in a rundown off second to end the inning.

"We cannot sit and wait for a guy to hit home runs," Guillen said. "We've got a lot of speed. We just haven't had the opportunities."

"He was spotting his pitches well, changing speeds," Sanchez said of Cueto. "But that's Cueto. He's a good pitcher. He's an ace. We know it, everybody knows it."

The Reds added a run in the sixth when Scott Rolen led off with a double and scored on Ryan Ludwick's one-out double.

Sanchez doubled with one out in the seventh, but Omar Infante lined out to center to end the inning.

"Those guys are having a little trouble scoring runs right now, and when a team is having trouble scoring runs, you want to keep them in that situation," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "We know they have a much more potent offense than what they showed."

Bruce's solo homer off Edward Mujica, which traveled an estimated 442 feet and caromed off the batter's eye pavilion in center, put the Reds ahead, 3-0, in the eighth.

Sean Marshall pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning in his Reds debut. The Marlins are 5-14 in their past 19 games at Great American Ball Park.

"Baseball's more of a mental game than physical, especially right now," Guillen said. "We need to take it one game at a time, one swing at a time. There are no excuses for what's happening." Comments