CINCINNATI – Miguel Cairo hit a two-run homer and Homer Bailey filled in admirably for the suspended Johnny Cueto, throwing six impressive innings Sunday to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 2-0 victory and a three-game sweep of the Florida Marlins.
The Reds bounced back from getting swept by the Cardinals in their showdown series earlier in the week. Cueto got a seven-game suspension for kicking Cardinals during a brawl on Tuesday.
Cairo connected for his fourth homer in the sixth inning against Anibal Sanchez (9-8), who yielded five hits in six innings.
Bailey (2-2) was activated off the disabled list and allowed only three hits, retiring the last 10 batters he faced.
Logan Ondrusek pitched out of a bases-loaded threat in the seventh by fanning pinch-hitter Chad Tracy. Closer Francisco Cordero, booed the previous night when he struggled to close out a win, gave up a double and a walk in the ninth before striking out pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy for his 32nd save in 38 chances.
The Marlins fell to 3-14 at Great American Ball Park since 2006. They've lost eight of their last 12 games overall.
The sweep got the Reds moving ahead again after their tumultuous series against St. Louis. Cueto was forced to miss a start because he kicked pitcher Chris Carpenter and catcher Jason LaRue during a brawl on Tuesday night touched off by Brandon Phillips' inflammatory comments.
Manager Dusty Baker also got a two-game suspension. He was back in the dugout to complete the sweep, which kept Cincinnati neck-and-neck with St. Louis for the NL Central lead.
Now, the Reds get one of their toughest tests — a trip to Arizona, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Over the last five seasons, the Reds are 16-35 on the West Coast, where they've had seasons scuttled. LA has been an especially bad time — Cincinnati has dropped its last 12 at Dodger Stadium since 2006.
Sanchez is one of the majors' best at avoiding homers — only five allowed in his previous 22 starts — but even he couldn't escape one of the majors' most homer-friendly ballparks. Cairo's drive landed in the first row of seats in left field.
The Reds lost top hitter Joey Votto to another ejection in the first inning.
Votto, the NL's top hitter at .322, was ejected by plate umpire D.J. Reyburn after disagreeing with a called strike — his fourth ejection in the last two seasons for arguing balls-and-strikes.
Marlins center fielder Emilio Bonifacio stole a hit from Jim Edmonds in the fourth, jumping to catch his fly at the top of the wall with one runner aboard. Edmonds later doubled, his first hit in 13 at-bats since the Reds got him in a trade with Milwaukee.
NOTES: Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez moved rookie RF Mike Stanton to fifth in the order, the third time he has batted so high in the order. ... Rodriguez said Hanley Ramirez will bat leadoff for the rest of the season. He's done it 17 times. ... The Reds optioned INF Juan Francisco to Triple-A to open a spot for Bailey. ... SS Orlando Cabrera, on the DL with pulled muscles in his side, played the role of bat boy in the Reds' dugout for a few innings, wearing a jersey that had "BB" on the back. ... RHP Mike Leake (.364 average) pinch hit in the seventh and flied out.