Miami, FL – Mark Buehrle pitched effectively into the eighth inning and Carlos Lee's two-run homer proved to be the difference, as the Miami Marlins held off the Cincinnati Reds, 6-4, on Saturday.
Buehrle (13-12) allowed four runs on sevens hits with seven strikeouts over 7 2/3 frames to earn the victory. Mike Dunn recorded the final out in the eighth and Steve Cishek worked around a two-out single in the ninth to secure his 14th save of the season.
Lee finished with three RBI, while Giancarlo Stanton added a two-run triple and also scored a run for the Marlins, who have taken the first two contests of this three-game set.
Johnny Cueto (17-9) took his third straight loss after giving up six runs on nine hits and a pair of walks in just 4 1/3 innings.
"He was either wild high or missing away," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Cueto. "When he came in there with strikes, it was down the heart of the plate about belt high. Those are the ones that hurt him."
Ryan Ludwick clubbed a two-run homer in the eighth for Cincinnati, which still holds a double-digit lead atop the NL Central despite the setback.
The Marlins jumped on Cueto early as Justin Ruggiano and Jose Reyes smacked back-to-back singles in the first. Stanton followed with a triple into the right-field corner to plate a pair before scoring on a sacrifice fly from Lee for a 3-0 edge.
Cincinnati got one back in the third when Ryan Hanigan stroked a leadoff single, moved to second on Cueto's bunt and scored two batters later on Wilson Valdez's base hit into left field.
The Reds added another run in the fourth, as Jay Bruce ripped a triple into right-center field that tipped off the glove of Stanton. Scott Rolen followed with a dribbler to third for an infield single, allowing Bruce to score and bring the visitors within 3-2.
The Marlins had a run cut down at the plate in the fourth, but responded with three in their next at-bat as Ruggiano and Reyes ripped consecutive doubles, with Reyes plating Ruggiano for a 4-2 lead.
After Stanton grounded out, Lee crushed a fastball deep to left-center field to double the home team's advantage and chase Cueto from the contest.
"I hit the ball pretty good," Lee said of his homer. "I was ahead in the count and he threw a fastball right down the middle."
Cincinnati made it interesting in the eighth as Joey Votto blooped a two-out double into shallow left field and Ludwick followed with a blast into the left-field seats to trim the margin to 6-4 and end Buehrle's night.
Mike Dunn entered and popped out Bruce to end the eighth before Cishek closed the door in the ninth to secure the victory.
Reyes' seventh-inning fielding error was the 500,000th error in MLB history ... Ludwick's homer was his first since Aug. 18 ... Over his last three starts, Cueto has given up 14 earned runs on 26 hits in 15 1/3 innings.