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MIA@CIN: Stanton drives in a pair with a single

CINCINNATI -- A little rest went a long way for the Marlins on Saturday night.

Awaking from a two-game slumber, Hanley Ramirez blistered a two-run homer to center, Giancarlo Stanton drove in three runs and Omar Infante finished a single shy of the cycle in Miami's 8-3 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

The final knockout blast came in the eighth inning, courtesy of John Buck, who delivered an thunderous two-run home run, providing Ricky Nolasco with plenty of support to cruise to the club's first win since its rebranding as the Miami Marlins.

"It's nice to see those guys swing the bat and build some confidence," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "First win. A lot of people swung the bat. Tomorrow, they should feel better about themselves."

The Marlins tried to downplay how hectic things were this week, when they opened on Wednesday night with a 4-1 loss to the Cardinals, and followed that up with a 4-0 setback on Thursday afternoon at Cincinnati.

Getting a breather on Friday helped re-energize the team.

"Definitely, no doubt about it," Ramirez said. "But we don't make any excuses. The schedule was made like that. We could not control that. We got that day off yesterday, and we feel good."

Infante, hitless the first two games, went 3-for-5, and he was a single away from the first cycle in Marlins history entering the ninth inning. He came up with two on and two out against Jose Arredondo, but on a 2-2 pitch, lifted a flyout to center.

"When I made the flyout, I wanted to cry," Infante said half-jokingly. "It's hard: You make the home run, triple, it's hard. I wanted that last at-bat. I had a chance, I couldn't do it."

Falling short of the cycle was about the only thing the Marlins were unable to accomplish in an all-around team win.

Nolasco was impressive in eight innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Pounding the strike zone and changing speeds, he struck out five while throwing 101 pitches, with 69 strikes.

The right-hander improved his career record to 65-51, and he's now three wins away of matching Dontrelle Willis' franchise record of 68.

"We did a good job of capitalizing today," Nolasco said. "We had some really good at-bats, grinding them out. It was good to go out there and keep us in the game before the bats woke up."

Protecting a five-run lead, the Marlins gave closer Heath Bell some work, as he polished off a scoreless ninth inning, striking out one.

Miami also played splendid defense, especially Jose Reyes and Infante, who made a highlight-reel diving play to rob Brandon Phillips of a single in the eighth.

"I just tip my cap to the infield and the defense all around," Nolasco said. "Jose made tons of plays in that hole there. I was throwing that sinker a ton to those guys, and they kept rolling them in that hole, and he made great plays."

Wins have been hard to come by for the Marlins in Cincinnati, as they're now 5-15 in their last 20 games at Great American Ball Park.

Limited to seven hits and one run in their first two losses, the Marlins rebounded after being off on Friday to pound out 12 hits, and chase Mat Latos after 4 2/3 innings.

The Marlins were able to grab the lead for the first time all season, on Stanton's RBI double in the fourth. It took 22 innings for Miami to claim its first advantage of the year.

But it took them two batters in the bottom of the fourth to lose the edge. Zack Cozart tripled off the wall in right, and Joey Votto blasted an opposite-field, two-run homer to left.

Votto's shot was his 116th at first base, which is fifth all-time in Reds' history for a first baseman.

Cozart also had a big night, belting a home run off Nolasco in the eighth. He had three hits and was a double shy of the cycle.

The Marlins finally had a breakout inning, scoring three times and sending nine to the plate in the fifth.

Infante wasted little time pulling the Marlins even at 2, leading off the inning with a home run to left. Infante has the distinction of being the first Miami Marlin to go deep this year.

The Marlins had a big, three-run fifth inning, knocking out Latos after 4 2/3 innings in his Reds debut.

With two outs and the bases full, Stanton laced a two-run single. Reds manager Dusty Baker then went with Logan Ondrusek, who inherited a first-and-third situation and got the final out of the inning.

"They've got a really good lineup," Baker said. "You know they're going to hit sooner or later. They've got a lot of hitters in their lineup. But they were hitting fastballs. The key tonight is that we couldn't keep Reyes and [Emilio] Bonifacio off the bases. Tonight, Stanton killed us. He's one of the better young players in baseball. But again, he was hitting fastballs. We have to do a better job of getting our breaking balls, our secondary pitches over the plate."

Ramirez snapped out of an 0-for-10 start to the season with an explosion of a two-run shot estimated at 418 feet to dead center off Sam LeCure in the seventh.

"It's about the win," Ramirez said. "Personally, I've got no goals. We only have one goal here -- to win games." Comments