Simon struggles again, Reds lose to Marlins 4-3

GABP

CINCINNATI (AP) – Alfredo Simon hasn’t won since his first All-Star selection. The rest of the Cincinnati Reds aren’t doing all that much better.

Brad Penny rejoined the Marlins for the first time in 10 years and pitched five solid innings to get a notable win Saturday night, 4-3 over Simon and the slumping Reds.

Cincinnati is 8-14 since the All-Star break, leaving the Reds stranded in fourth place in the NL Central. Simon went into the break with a 12-3 mark, but is 0-4 with a no-decision since then. Four times, he’s gone five innings or less.

On Saturday, he allowed two runs and matched his season high with five walks in five innings.

“He got to two strikes on a handful of guys, but he would leave the ball up,” manager Bryan Price said. “He’s not executing like he was. His arm is behind him and he’s getting balls up.”

The offense wasn’t much help again.

Penny (1-0) was called up before the game to make his first appearance in the majors since 2012. The 36-year-old helped the Marlins win the World Series in 2003 and played one more season in Miami before moving on.

Penny gave up Jay Bruce’s solo homer and an unearned run in five innings, fanning three while throwing 95 pitches.

“We were surprised to hear that (Penny was starting) when we got in today,” Bruce said. “Other than minus 2 miles per hour, he was pretty much the same guy. He didn’t throw quite as hard, but he had the same style. You are who you are when it comes to that kind of stuff.”

Bryan Morris gave up two hits and a run in the eighth. Steve Cishek pitched the ninth for his 29th save in 32 chances.

Chris Heisey singled to open the ninth but got caught off first base and was out in a rundown.

“A mistake,” Price said. “That’s all it was. Nobody feels worse than him.”

Christian Yelich had two hits, scored a run, and drove in two with a groundout and a sacrifice fly off reliever Sam LeCure (1-4). Giancarlo Stanton also had a sacrifice fly, and Donovan Solano doubled home the final run.

It was a big night for Penny and manager Mike Redmond, his former catcher with the Marlins. Penny went 48-42 with the Marlins from 2000-04. His last start for them was July 28, 2004.

Bruce’s homer in the first inning ended Miami’s streak of 11 straight games without allowing one, the second-longest in franchise history. The Marlins went 12 games without allowing one last season.

SO SLOOOOOOW

Simon got Garrett Jones to take a called third strike in the third inning on a pitch that fluttered in at 64 mph. In his next at-bat, Simon threw a 57 mph pitch followed by a 95 mph fastball. Jones drew a walk.

AND SOOOO FAST

Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth and sent oohs through the crowd with his fastball. Eighteen of his 23 pitches came in at triple digits, with three of them hitting 103 mph. He extended his major league record for a reliever to 48 consecutive appearances with a strikeout.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: Brayan Pena had a pinch-hit single that extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. He left for a pinch-runner because his left hamstring has been tight. Price plans to have Pena catch Sunday. The Reds called up catcher Tucker Barnhart as a precaution.

UP NEXT

Marlins: Miami will try to sweep a three-game series in Cincinnati for the first time since Great American Ball Park opened in 2003. Left-hander Brad Hand (2-3) makes his first career start against the Reds. The Marlins then return home for eight games against St. Louis, Arizona and Texas.

Reds: Johnny Cueto tries to win his fourth straight start. The right-hander has given up only three runs in the last three games. He threw a complete game for a 9-2 win at Cleveland on Tuesday.

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