PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Darin Ruf hit a walkoff single with one out in the ninth inning after Maikel Franco tied it in the eighth with a two-run homer to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a rare late-inning comeback victory, 5-4 over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
Odubel Herrera led off the ninth against Tony Cingrani (0-2) with an opposite-field double to left. Herrera went to third on Carlos Ruiz’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Ruf’s single to right.
Jonathan Papelbon (1-0) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two, to earn the victory.
The Phillies looked headed to their eighth straight loss before scoring two runs with two outs in the eighth.
Philadelphia improved to 2-30 when trailing after seven innings.
Jumbo Diaz got the first two outs in the eighth and looked like he had the third out when Howard hit a line drive to right. Jay Bruce was in position to make the catch but the ball went under his glove. The play was ruled a double and Franco followed with a homer just inside the foul pole in left to tie it at 4.
It was the third homer for the rookie who entered batting .194 and had just two hits in his last 27 at-bats entering Tuesday.
Joey Votto had two hits with a double and two RBIs for the Reds. Johnny Cueto returned to the mound after missing two starts due to right elbow inflammation and allowed two runs — one earned — and five hits in six innings.
Chase Utley homered and had three hits for the Phillies, who avoided tying their worst losing streak since July 2013. Philadelphia won for just the second time in the last 11 games.
Sean O’Sullivan started for the Phillies allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The game started in a heavy drizzle and was played under a persistent drizzle throughout the chilly evening with unseasonably cool temperatures in the 50’s.
Votto followed Brandon Phillips’ game-opening single with an RBI double down the left-field line to give the Reds a 1-0 lead.
Philadelphia tied it in the second on Herrera’s RBI groundout. The run was unearned after third baseman Todd Frazier made the first of two fielding errors, both on balls hit by Franco.
Votto’s RBI single to left in the third put the Reds in front 2-1, and Cincinnati took a 4-1 lead on Zack Cozart’s RBI double and an RBI sacrifice bunt by Billy Hamilton, who batted ninth.
Cueto showed no ill effects of the injury that kept him sidelined since May 19. An MRI last Tuesday showed no structural damage and a strong bullpen session on Sunday left Cueto feeling good entering his start. The biggest scare for the right-hander might have been in the fifth inning when he had to avoid the barrel of Ben Revere’s broken bat that went flying past the mound.
In addition to the two errors, Frazier, the reigning NL Player of the Week, cooled off at the plate by going 0 for 4. Frazier entered 11 for 22 with four homers in his last six games.
Bruce extended his hitting streak against the Phillies to 15 straight games with a fifth-inning single.
Freddy Galvis went 0 for 4 and is hitless in his last 17 at-bats. Since May 15, Galvis is batting .138.
Reds: Marlon Byrd was hit on the right hand by a pitch leading off the sixth inning. Byrd reacted painfully but shook off the injury and went to first base. But he was replaced in left field in the bottom of the seventh by Brennan Boesch.
Reds: RHP Mike Leake (2-4, 4.66) takes the mound for Cincinnati on Wednesday night looking to improve his career mark against the Phillies. Leake is 1-5 with a 7.41 ERA in six career starts against the Phillies, including 0-2 with an 8.53 ERA in two starts at Citizens Bank Park.
Phillies: LHP Cole Hamels (5-4, 2.91) starts Wednesday night. The Phillies’ ace has owned Cincinnati throughout his career, going 9-0 with a 1.51 ERA in 12 starts against the Reds.