Reds chase Marlins' Johnson with early runs
Volquez helps Cincy snap three-game skid with solid outing
CINCINNATI -- It was the fourth consecutive game of facing a buzzsaw of top National League pitching. But this time -- against the Marlins' Josh Johnson -- the Reds finally managed to bend the teeth with their bats, and they looked good doing it.A 7-2 win with 12 hits against the Marlins was exactly the response the Reds wanted following this week's sobering three-game sweep at the hands of the now-first-place Cardinals. Johnson (10-5) was dispatched after only a season-low 3 2/3 innings, while he allowed season highs with six earned runs and 10 hits. He came in as the NL leader in ERA at 1.97, but was down by a 3-0 score after only one inning. "Any time you get into a situation and you have a tough series, then the resiliency of this team, I think, kind of shows," Reds acting manager Chris Speier said. "No. 1, it was big for us to get ahead. We haven't gotten out in front for a while." In the previous series against the St. Louis trio of Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright, Reds hitters notched only a combined nine hits while they were on the mound. More than half of that hit total was accumulated during a five-hit first inning against Johnson, including four straight before the first out was made. They weren't overpowering hits, but an infield hit for Brandon Phillips, a broken-bat bloop single by Laynce Nix, a rolling RBI single through the middle for Joey Votto and an RBI single by Scott Rolen. Jay Bruce added a one-out RBI single that got Votto home. Rolen snapped a 0-for-12 funk with a 3-for-4, two-RBI night that included two doubles. Those runs driven in were his first for the month of August. "We put a lot of pressure on him the whole way," Rolen said. "The last series against St. Louis, we didn't put much pressure on them. Our offense has been good at putting pressure on guys and getting guys on base and taking good swings at good pitches. We were able to do that. Josh obviously is one of the best in the league." That lead also took some pressure off of Reds starter Edinson Volquez (3-1), who turned in his third straight performance where he allowed only one run. It came on Mike Stanton's sixth-inning home run and was the only blight during Volquez's six innings, during which he gave up eight hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Over his past three starts, totaling 17 2/3 innings, Volquez is 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA. "Every time I pitch, I get into a better rhythm and good tempo in the game. I'm more comfortable," said Volquez, who is six big league starts into his return from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Volquez had one four-pitch walk in the top of the first to Logan Morrison and didn't pay for it. His second walk, to Ronny Paulino, loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth inning, but he worked out of it. Overall, Volquez threw 94 pitches. "Tonight nothing really went our way," Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla said. "But the Reds battled. They put the ball in play. They got a great start out of Edinson. He was really on with all his pitches." After a leadoff double in the Reds' third inning, Rolen later scored from third base on Bruce's fielders-choice play to the shortstop. The throw came home with Rolen avoiding the tag and craftily touched the plate with his left hand. After Votto's RBI single through the right side scored Phillips in the fourth, Rolen's RBI double finished Johnson's evening and put Cincinnati up, 6-0. Bruce made it a seven-run game when he led off the fifth inning with a homer to center field off of Taylor Tankersley. With St. Louis winning its fourth consecutive game, the Reds remained one game back in the NL Central standings. While the Reds are 5-10 in the season series against the Cardinals, they are 52-34 against the rest of the NL. "We're going to keep playing," Rolen said. "That's the way it's going to be. We don't know what they're going to do. They might win 20 in a row. Who knows? They might lose 20 in a row. We have to handle our own business and keep playing good baseball."