CINCINNATI — Corky Miller hit a rare home run to back Kip Wells' strong pitching and the Cincinnati Reds gained a split of their four-game series against the Florida Marlins by rolling to an 8-1 victory Sunday.
Miller's three-run shot and Joey Votto's two-run homer created a cushion for Wells, who put together his longest outing since being acquired by the Reds as a free agent on July 7 and joining the team July 31.
The Marlins began the day trailing Colorado by four games for the NL wild card. They were seven behind first-place Philadelphia in the NL East.
Wells (2-4), who opened the season in Washington's minor league system and went 0-2 for the Nationals before being released July 6, pitched seven-plus innings. He gave up one run and five hits with no walks and two strikeouts. His previous longest outing with Cincinnati was 6 2-3 innings against Houston in his last start Tuesday, when he did not receive a decision.
Wells faced the minimum 11 batters through the first 3 2-3 innings before NL batting leader Hanley Ramirez singled to center field for Florida's first hit.
Darnell McDonald led off the third for Cincinnati with an infield single to shortstop. One out later, Wells sacrificed McDonald to second and he scored on Drew Stubbs' double into the left-field corner.
Florida starter Sean West walked Scott Rolen and Jonny Gomes with one out in the fourth. McDonald struck out, but Miller smacked West's first pitch into the left-field seats for his first home run in the majors since June 11, 2008, for Atlanta against the Cubs at Chicago.
Miller, who has played at least one game in the major leagues in every season since 2001, hit his first homer for the Reds since June 22, 2002, at Atlanta. He doubled his RBI total for the season.
Stubbs led off the fifth with an infield single and Paul Janish followed with a bunt single. Votto struck out looking, and Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez called in right-hander Cristhian Martinez to face Brandon Phillips, who hit the first pitch through the hole into right field for an RBI single to give Cincinnati a 5-0 lead.
Votto hit his 22nd homer in the seventh, a two-run shot, and Scott Rolen later followed Phillips' triple with a run-scoring groundout.
West (7-6), who had gone 4-1 with a 4.15 ERA in eight starts since being recalled from Double-A Jacksonville on Aug. 8, gave up five hits and five runs with three walks and four strikeouts in 4 2-3 innings.
NOTES: Votto hit 21 home runs in his first full season last year. ... The Reds went 9-8 in their most grueling stretch of the season — 17 games in 17 days. Monday is their first day off since Sept. 3. ... Florida hasn't won a series in Cincinnati since taking two of three Aug. 5-7, 2005. ... Cincinnati RHP Johnny Cueto threw a bullpen and was pronounced ready to start Tuesday at Pittsburgh. Cueto missed his last scheduled start on Thursday with flulike symptoms. RHP Justin Lehr and LHP Matt Maloney will start the Reds' first two games next weekend in Houston.