CINCINNATI (AP) - Two games, seven hits, one run. Not at all what the Miami Marlins expect of themselves.
Miami's offense struggled for the second time in less than 24 hours, managing only three hits while losing to the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 on Thursday. Jay Bruce homered for the Reds, and Johnny Cueto dominated his first opening-day start.
``It seemed like we were a little bit too anxious, trying to get two hits in one at-bat,' manager Ozzie Guillen said. ``Hopefully with a day off, we'll clear our minds and regroup and get ready.'
They can use a little time off.
The Marlins arrived at 3 a.m. after opening their new ballpark in Miami with a 4-1 loss to St. Louis on Wednesday night. They managed only four hits off the defending World Series champions, and weren't any better after a few hours of sleep in Cincinnati.
``We have good hitters on this team,' first baseman Gaby Sanchez said. ``We know all of a sudden with these guys, it's going to be awesome and ridiculous. We just have to let it happen, not try to push it to happen.'
Florida couldn't score against Cueto and a bullpen depleted by the loss of closer Ryan Madson and setup man Nick Masset. Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect eighth, and fill-in closer Sean Marshall retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out two with the crowd on its feet.
The Marlins looked forward to their day off on Friday to get a fresh start.
``There's so many expectations on this team, and we know it,' Sanchez said.
Cueto (1-0) anchored the Reds' first opening-day shutout since 1980, when Frank Pastore beat Atlanta's Phil Niekro 9-0. The right-hander allowed three hits over seven innings, one of them an infield hit.
Left-hander Mark Buehrle (0-1) gave up Bruce's sacrifice fly and Ryan Ludwick's RBI double over six innings. Bruce also homered off Edward Mujica.
The crowd of 42,956 was the second-largest at Great American Ball Park, trailing only a playoff loss to Philadelphia in 2010.
Cincinnati's traditional home opener matched two of the majors' biggest offseason spenders.
First baseman Joey Votto got a loud ovation during pregame introductions, a day after he signed a new contract that gave him an additional 10 years and $225 million to be the cornerstone of the small-market franchise.
Votto singled and got an intentional walk in four plate appearances.
The Marlins also went on a spending spree leading up to the opening of their new ballpark, shelling out $191 million to acquire NL batting champion Jose Reyes, Buehrle and All-Star closer Heath Bell in a move to make the franchise a contender overnight. They also hired Guillen to oversee the fresh start.
Buehrle struggled with his control in the first inning on a windy, 60-degree afternoon. He escaped a bases-loaded, one-out threat by allowing only Bruce's sacrifice fly to the warning track in center.
``It was a little colder here than it was in Miami and spring training,' Buehrle said. ``It was a little tough to try to grip the ball.'
Doubles by Scott Rolen and Ludwick made it 2-0 in the sixth. Cincinnati added a pair of runs in the eighth on Bruce's homer and Chris Heisey's RBI double.
Both starters picked a runner off first, undercutting rallies.
NOTES: The Marlins were the only NL team the Reds hadn't played on opening day. ... Chris Coghlan started in LF for the Marlins in place of Logan Morrison, who missed time in March with a sore knee. Morrison played on Wednesday night in Miami and went 1 for 3. Guillen is being careful with him at the start of the season. ...Baker recalled that Guillen was his batboy when he played on a team in Venezuela in 1974. Baker gave him a glove to show his appreciation. ``He's a good tipper,' Guillen said. ... Rolen, in his first game back from shoulder surgery, made two nice defensive plays at third base to prevent hits. But he also committed an error. ... Hits king Pete Rose was among those in the crowd.
The Associated Press News Service
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