Quite a turnaround for the Reds, who went from dropping five in a row to winning two games in one day. A little well-timed hitting will do that.
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Jay Bruce hit a pair of bases-loaded singles that sent Cincinnati to a couple of wins on Wednesday, 1-0 over the Philadelphia Phillies in the conclusion of a suspended game and 11-2 in the later one.
The Reds completed their first sweep of the Phillies since 1996, taking advantage of Philadelphia’s struggles on offense to pull out of a five-game slide. It reminded manager Dusty Baker of an acquaintance’s favorite saying.
”Like Gary Matthews said, the only thing better than hits are more hits,” Baker said. ”It was a beautiful thing tonight. It’s hard to figure. We get swept in Pittsburgh and then come here and sweep these guys. If anybody figures this game out, I hope they tell me.”
First, they concluded a game suspended overnight by rain. Several hundred fans were in the stands to see Phillippe Aumont (1-2) pick the game up in the bottom of the ninth and give up Bruce’s bases-loaded single only four batters later.
The crowd was 16,467 for the series finale, which started an hour and a half later. Bruce had a big hand in that one, too.
He had a bases-loaded single to right field — just like the last one — that highlighted a five-run rally in the second inning off left-hander John Lannan (0-1), who was bothered by tendinitis in his left knee.
”Obviously, it was good to get this sweep after having some breaks go against us,” Bruce said. ”That’s the name of the game. The mark of a good team is how you come back. You’ve got to rise up and minimize the damage.”
Lannan said he’s had tendinitis above his left knee, but it felt fine when he warmed up to start the game. It began bothering him in the first inning and got worse. He’ll be examined on Thursday.
”I’m not going to go out there and do that again,” Lannan said.
Reds starter Mike Leake (1-2) drove in a run with his first career triple during Cincinnati’s 10-batter second inning. The Reds had two singles, a double, a triple, Todd Frazier’s homer, a walk and a hit-by-pitch during the rally.
Leake, who leads all major league pitchers with 49 hits over the last four seasons, also had a pair of infield singles. The three hits matched his career high — he also did it in Philadelphia in 2010. Leake allowed three hits and didn’t walk a batter in seven shutout innings.
”I needed a good performance more than the three hits, but it helped,” Leake said.
The Phillies managed only four runs and 13 hits while getting swept in Cincinnati. They didn’t even get to swing the bat during the conclusion of the suspended game.
Aumont was warming up to face Zack Cozart for the bottom of the ninth inning when heavy rained moved in on Tuesday night. Eighteen hours later, Cozart finally got his at-bat and singled to start the winning rally. Bruce finished it with his first-pitch single.
Left-hander Aroldis Chapman (2-0) got the win without even warming up on Wednesday — he’d retired the last three batters before the rain came the previous night.
A measure of Philadelphia’s offensive woes — it ended up with as many hits as there were renditions of the national anthem in the suspended game. The Phillies managed only two singles off Homer Bailey and Chapman.
The Reds allowed fans who attended the game on Tuesday to come back for the finish. There were several hundred of them in the stands when clubhouse assistant Josh Stewart sang the national anthem – the second one of the game.
The public address announcer went over the lineups again. Umpire Wally Bell was back behind the plate when the game resumed.
It was the Phillies’ first suspended game since Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, when rain halted their matchup against Tampa Bay in the sixth inning. The only suspended game in World Series history wasn’t resumed for two days, when the Phillies won it for the title.
The Reds’ last suspended game was in 2004 against Houston, a game that was halted in the top of the 11th inning by rain. Cincinnati won it in 13 innings.
Leake became the first Reds pitcher to score three times in a game since Danny Jackson scored four runs on Sept. 4, 1988 against the Cubs. … LH Tony Cingrani will be called up from Triple-A Louisville and make his debut on Thursday against Miami. Cingrani will be the first left-hander to start for the Reds since Dontrelle Willis on Sept. 29, 2011. … Former Reds infielders Barry Larkin and Aaron Boone threw ceremonial pitches before the regular game. … Phillies OF Domonic Brown had a sore back after making a diving catch and will be examined on Thursday.