(Thursday, April 5th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 4, Miami 0
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Johnny Cueto threw seven scoreless innings, Jay Bruce hit a solo homer and knocked in two runs and the Cincinnati Reds opened their season with a 4-0 shutout of the Miami Marlins on Thursday.
Cueto (1-0) struck out four and combined with two other pitchers on a three- hitter, outdueling Marlins starter Mark Buehrle (0-1), who lost his National League debut.
Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey hit RBI doubles for the Reds and Zack Cozart had two hits.
The Marlins fell to 0-2 on the season already after dropping the first regular season game in their new ballpark to the Cardinals on Wednesday night. They will get a day off before this three-game series resumes Saturday.
Miami has just seven hits so far, but manager Ozzie Guillen hopes the team will break through offensively once the top of the lineup starts getting on base.
"We cannot sit and wait for guys to hit home runs," Guillen said. "We have a lot of speed -- hopefully they can get on base and we'll score runs."
The right-handed Cueto, coming off a 9-5 season, gave up just three hits and two walks and was backed up by one perfect inning apiece from Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall.
Buehrle, the 33-year-old lefty who spent 12 years in the American League with the Chicago White Sox before signing a four-year deal with the Marlins, gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks in six innings.
He struck out five, but the Reds jumped on him early, loading the bases with one out in the first before Bruce knocked in Cozart with a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.
"It was a little colder here than in Miami," said Buehrle. "It was tough to grip the ball, a little dry."
The Marlins had baserunners in the first, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings but couldn't get a run across.
Emilio Bonifacio squandered a leadoff single in the fourth when Cueto picked him off first base and Jose Reyes ran into an inning-ending double play when he was caught stealing in the sixth after Hanley Ramirez struck out.
After Ludwick hit an opposite-field double to the wall in right field to score Scott Rolen in the bottom of the sixth, Gaby Sanchez hit a one-out double in the seventh for Florida, but was stranded at second.
Bruce sparked a two-run eighth inning with a solo blast well over the wall in dead center field to lead off. Later, Heisey doubled off the wall in left- center to score Drew Stubbs for a 4-0 lead.
Bonifacio looked like he had a bead on Heisey's hit but crashed into the fence without catching it.
Cueto threw 61 of his 95 pitches for strikes while Chapman and Marshall made it through the last two innings with just 21 combined pitches, helping to end the game in a breezy 2 hours and 44 minutes.
Reds manager Dusty Baker said Cueto had an "outstanding" start.
"He had great command of his pitches and his pitch count stayed low. He got into a little trouble in the sixth and the seventh, but he got out of it," said Baker. "What a way to start."
Buehrle, who followed Guillen from the White Sox to the Marlins, has thrown 200-plus innings in 11 straight seasons...The Reds are coming off a 79-83 record last season -- third place in the NL Central behind Milwaukee and St. Louis...Reds first baseman Joey Votto was 1-for-3 after signing a 10-year extension worth $225 million.
04/05 19:54:35 ET