CINCINNATI -- For the Cincinnati Reds who are rebuilding around young pitching, it is encouraging to see a pitcher show good stuff and improvement from his previous starts. But, at some point, you want to see results. Right-hander Sal Romano did just that on Sunday afternoon.
Scooter Gennett, Eugenio Suarez and Tucker Barnhart homered and Romano allowed one run in six innings, lifting Cincinnati to a 6-3 victory over the Miami Marlins in the finale of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.
"As much as we want to see our young pitchers, you still need to hunt victories," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "We feel like we have the talent to win enough games to feel like we're moving in the right direction."
Romano (2-2), making his fourth career start, walked one and had a career-high seven strikeouts helping the Reds snap a three-game losing streak.
The changeup was an important pitch for Romano on Sunday. Giancarlo Stanton struck out swinging on his best changeup to begin the sixth inning.
"I talked to (catcher) Tucker (Barnhart) before the game told him to thrown it down there," said Romano of his changeup. "I kind of froze (Stanton) on it. Using my changeup kept them off my fastball. I just had to trust my stuff and trust Tucker back there. He's seen all these hitters."
A.J. Ellis homered and doubled for Miami (44-52), which failed to complete its first sweep of the Reds in Cincinnati since 2003.
Ellis' home run was the 23rd allowed by Reds pitching during the 10-game homestand, a new club record for homers in a homestand of 10 games or fewer. But, that's the only offense the Marlins managed off Romano.
"He did a nice job with his breaking ball and his changeup," Price said. "The changeup has to be a factor for him. It means something to perform. You want to see something that gets you encouraged."
Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler (1-5) had a rough afternoon, allowing three home runs among nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. He was charged with five earned runs and also hit a batter and committed a throwing error.
With runners on second and third and two outs in the second inning after a perfectly-placed sacrifice bunt by Romano, Billy Hamilton delivered a single to right, driving in one run. But Barnhart was thrown out at home by Giancarlo Stanton, leaving the score 1-0.
The Marlins tied the score 1-1 in the fourth when Ellis homered for just the second time this season on a 3-1 pitch from Romano. His only other homer was July 9.
Romano found a groove after Ellis' homer, retiring seven straight batters in quick succession to complete his outing.
"Tempo is a big thing in this game," Romano said.
Gennett put Cincinnati (41-57) back ahead when he yanked an 0-2 pitch from Koehler into the right-field stands.
Koehler's throwing error to second on a potential inning-ending double play grounder in the fifth allowed another run to score, putting the Reds ahead 3-1. Gennett followed with an RBI single to make it a three-run advantage.
"I thought he looked pretty good early," said Marlins manager Don Mattingly of Koehler. "He got hurt by home runs. He might've gotten tired. Before that, he kept us in the game. (His throwing error) was huge. That was pretty much a turning point in the game. That's definitely a play that would've helped us."
Suarez hit his 16th home run of the season leading off the sixth and Barnhart clubbed his third two batters later to make the score 6-1.
Raisel Iglesias allowed one hit in two innings to collect his 17th save.
The Reds play a four-game series at Miami beginning Thursday night. It's likely that Koehler will get another shot at them on Friday.
"I was frustrated with the whole game, but no one's going to feel sorry for me," Koehler said. "The Reds aren't going to feel sorry for me when I see them again."
NOTES: The 72 runs allowed by Cincinnati during this homestand are a club record for a homestand of 10 games or fewer. Previous high was 69 in June 1995. ... Cincinnati will play at the Cleveland Indians on Monday night to make up a May 25 rainout. ... Miami's last three-game sweep of the Reds in Cincinnati was May 23-25, 2003, the year Great American Ball Park opened. ... Marlins LF Ichiro Suzuki made just his fifth start of the season and went 0-for-3 with a walk, leaving him three hits shy of Craig Biggio (3,060) for 22nd on baseball's all-time list.