MIAMI (AP) — Jake Fraley homered twice, including a tiebreaking three-run shot in the ninth inning that sent the Cincinnati Reds past the Miami Marlins 7-4 on Friday night.
Eury Pérez struck out seven over 4 2/3 innings in his highly anticipated major league debut for Miami. The Marlins promoted the 20-year-old right-hander, the top prospect in their organization, from Double-A Pensacola to start the series opener.
Cincinnati erased a 4-2 deficit on Spencer Steer’s two-run double in the seventh.
“It wasn’t a perfect game, far from it, and when you can win those kinds of games, that’s all that matters,” Reds manager David Bell said. “You don’t get down. You keep playing and waiting for an opportunity.”
Stuart Fairchild hit a leadoff single against reliever Dylan Floro (2-2) in the ninth and advanced two bases on José Barrero’s single to right field. Floro struck out Jonathan India before Fraley homered to right.
“I was just trying to see a ball up and put it in the outfield,” Fraley said.
It was Fraley’s first career multi-homer game. Fraley avoided a serious injury in the fifth when he made an awkward slide near a wall in left field while attempting to catch Joey Wendle’s foul ball.
“I knew as soon as I got up that I was good,” Fraley said. “It didn’t feel good but I knew I was fine. I almost had it.”
Ian Gibaut (2-0) threw 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and Alexis Díaz closed with a perfect ninth for his eighth save.
“It’s nice when the effort leads to a win and in a lot of ways tonight it did,” Bell said. “We just stayed after it.”
Jazz Chisholm Jr.’s solo homer against Reds starter Graham Ashcraft in the fifth snapped a 2-all tie. Chisholm was at the plate when Wendle scored from third on catcher Tyler Stephenson’s passed ball.
Wendle, who tripled after right fielder Wil Myers lost his drive in the lights, originally was called out at the plate but the Marlins successfully challenged that Wendle beat Ashcraft’s tag as he caught Stephenson’s throw from the backstop.
Peyton Burdick’s solo homer in the sixth padded Miami’s lead.
Pérez’s outing ended after he allowed Fraley’s two-out solo shot that gave Cincinnati a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Pérez scattered four hits and walked two on 88 pitches, with his fastball topping out at 99 mph.
“Going out there was an unbelievable experience to play against veteran players,” Pérez said through a translator. “The emotions were all over the place, to be honest. I was able to control it.”
Pérez, who turned 20 on April 15, became the youngest pitcher in Marlins history and the first major league player born in 2003. José Fernández made his Miami debut 250 days after his 20th birthday in 2013.
Ashcraft allowed four runs, six hits and two walks while striking out three in 5 2/3 innings.
Stephenson put the Reds ahead with his leadoff homer in the fourth, but Miami tied it in the bottom half on Bryan De La Cruz’s run-scoring double.
Instead of a Marlins staffer, NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara picked up Pérez at the airport when he arrived in Miami. Alcantara and Pérez, who share the same agent, formed a close bond in the offseason while working out in the Dominican Republic.
“This sport is all about learning,” Alcantara said. “All the knowledge I’ve gained, it is only right that I can share it with the younger players who are coming up.”
To make room for Pérez, the Marlins designated RHP Chi Chi González for assignment.
Reds: OF TJ Friedl (left oblique soreness) didn’t play and is day-to-day. Friedl exited in the sixth inning of Cincinnati’s victory over the New York Mets on Thursday.
Marlins: OF Jesús Sánchez (right hamstring soreness) struck out as a pinch hitter leading off the ninth. Sánchez felt discomfort after his ninth-inning double Wednesday in Arizona. … LHP Trevor Rogers (left biceps strain) will throw a 20-pitch bullpen Saturday.
Reds LHP Nick Lodolo (2-1, 3.82 ERA) had been Saturday’s scheduled starter but was scratched for the second time this week. The team had not announced a replacement. Alcantara (1-3, 4.53) is on the mound for Miami.