Through 18 games of the 2013 season, only one Marlins starter has a victory, and he will be on the mound Sunday as Miami tries for a split of a four-game set at Cincinnati.
Alex Sanabia actually has two victories to his credit, and he will be matched against the Reds' Homer Bailey as the two teams follow up their 13-inning game the day before.
Sanabia enters his fourth start of the 2013 season a perfect 4-0 in 12 career road games, including nine starts, and the Marlins could use some more of his away winning ways on Sunday after battling the National League Central powerhouse deep into Saturday afternoon.
In his last start, Sanabia held the defending NL East champion Nationals to two runs on six hits, earning the victory in six innings and continuing to show he's back from injury woes and spending all of 2012 at Triple-A. With two victories in quality starts and one rough outing under his belt for this season, he'll be making his first career start against Cincinnati.
The Reds are hoping Bailey continues not only his own streak of quality pitching, but also a strong run of success for the staff as a whole. Through Saturday's games, Reds pitchers have allowed two runs or fewer in six straight games, walking just six while striking out 48.
Bailey has allowed runs in only two of his 19 innings pitched, but he's gotten zero runs of support while on the mound his last two starts. He says a key to success for him is having his catcher taking the wheel in pitch selection, whether it's Ryan Hanigan or Devin Mesoraco.
"When you're on the same page as your catcher, I can kind of sit back and almost go into cruise control, where all I have to think about is executing pitches," Bailey said. "If I have to try to think along with the hitter, that's where you kind of lose your focus on what you're trying to do with the pitch. Being able to go out there and just execute pitches if that's your only mindset makes something very hard a little bit easier. Trying to make pitches is extremely hard."
Marlins: Ruggiano's streak continues
No homer this time, but Justin Ruggiano continued his hot ways at the plate, extending his hitting streak to six games with a leadoff single in the 12th inning Saturday.
Through Saturday, Ruggiano has gone 8-for-23 during the streak, including home runs in the first two games of the series. On Saturday, he batted in what has become his main spot in the lineup -- the No. 5 hole, his 12th appearance in that spot.
"He's a guy who can hit in the middle of our order," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We don't have a lot of power in our lineup, but he's one of the guys that we've got who can hit the ball out of the ballpark. He's done a nice job. He's given us good at-bats."
Reds: Hanigan's status uncertain
It had been since Sept. 27, 2011, that Bronson Arroyo didn't have Hanigan behind the plate for one of his starts, but it was Mesoraco there Saturday as Arroyo made his fourth start of 2013.
Hanigan's status remains day to day with a sore right thumb, the bare thumb having been struck by a foul ball against the Cardinals in the season's first week.
Mesoraco went 2-for-5 and caught all 13 innings Saturday.
• Following Sunday's game, the Marlins will continue northward to take on the Minnesota Twins at Target Field for a two-game set starting Monday, followed by a travel day on Wednesday.
• The Reds will continue their homestand with a three-game series against the Cubs, starting with Monday's matchup against former Reds pitcher Travis Wood.
• Prior to Saturday's game, the all-time series between the two clubs reached game No. 162, with the Reds posting a 92-70 record. It's now 93-70.
• After Sunday, the Marlins and Reds won't have to wait long to meet each other again, squaring off May 14-16 in Miami.