Cardinals 4, Reds 2

Brandon Phillips blamed the loss that knocked the Cincinnati

Reds out of first place for the first time this season on dumb

play.

Scheduled starter Edinson Volquez warmed up, but never threw a

pitch after a rain delay of 2 hours and 10 minutes and the Reds had

other miscues in a 4-2 loss to the NL Central rival Cardinals on

Friday night. The Cardinals saved their starter, Kyle McClellan,

for after the deluge.

”I think this is probably the worst loss we’ve had this year,”

Phillips said. ”We just beat ourselves. The Cardinals, they’re a

great team, they did their job.

”But on our end, we just didn’t come through. We’ve just got to

be smarter. Today was just another learning experience.”

McClellan worked six-plus innings after the Cardinals guessed

correctly and used a substitute starter before a lengthy rain

delay.

Albert Pujols had two RBIs and Ryan Theriot had three hits and

scored twice for the Cardinals against a collection of relievers

for the Reds, who ended up with Matt Maloney (0-1) as a substitute

starter.

Phillips may be enemy No. 1 in St. Louis for his role in last

season’s Cards-Reds dustup in Cincinnati. But he couldn’t help but

compliment Cardinals manager Tony La Russa for making the call to

save McClellan for after the rain.

”I was just like, ‘Wow, that’s pretty neat,”’ Phillips said.

”I give him two thumbs up, I really do. I give people credit when

credit is due.”

St. Louis stand-in starter Miguel Batista opened with a

four-pitch walk to Drew Stubbs and threw two more pitches to

Phillips before a fierce storm prompted tornado warning sirens at

least three times brought the game to a halt.

Phillips homered and Stubbs had two hits and a steal for the

Reds, who have lost seven of nine and fell a game behind the

Cardinals in the NL Central while dropping out of first place for

the first time. Phillips was booed mercilessly before each at-bat

and pumped his fist in triumph after singling in the third, but

kept his head down while sprinting around the bases after his

second homer in the fifth.

Maloney faced 15 hitters in two-plus innings in his first start

since July 11, 2010, at Philadelphia. He gave up eight hits and a

walk, but left trailing only 3-0 because of some key outs, striking

out Yadier Molina with the bases loaded to end the first and

stranding two more runners in the second when Matt Holliday popped

to center for the third out.

The Reds were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position against

McClellan (3-0), who allowed two runs while scattering seven hits

and two walks. This was technically the longest career relief

outing for McClellan, a setup man last season who has held

opponents to only three hits in 29 at-bats with runners in scoring

position for the season.

Mitchell Boggs got the last four outs for his second save in two

chances, finishing against the top of the Reds’ order. Cincinnati

had two men on with two outs in the eighth when catcher Molina

caught Chris Heisey straying well off first with a pickoff throw,

ending up with a tag-out of Miguel Cairo at third.

Rookie Eduardo Sanchez relieved McClellan with two on and no

outs in the seventh and threw two wild pitches with a walk, but

allowed only Jonny Gomes’ sacrifice fly.

The Reds threw out two Cardinals on the basepaths in the fifth,

with right fielder Jay Bruce’s perfect relay nipping Holliday at

third and catcher Ramon Hernandez easily getting Molina trying to

steal to end the inning.

Notes: RHP Jake Westbrook, 1-2 with a 9.82 ERA after four

starts, is set to pitch on three days’ rest Sunday night for the

Cardinals. Westbrook gave up seven runs in three innings, his

shortest outing since May 2, 2007, in a loss to the Nationals on

Wednesday. … Reds RHP Johnny Cueto (biceps-triceps) struggled in

his second rehab appearance for Triple-A Louisville Thursday,

allowing eight runs – five earned – on nine hits in 1 2-3 innings.

Cueto is scheduled for another rehab start Tuesday. … The Reds

have allowed a major league-high 24 runs in the first inning,

giving up 11 the last six games with at least one each game.