Reds 12, Indians 5

This Cleveland-versus-Cincinnati series will be remembered for

an inside fastball and a wagging finger.

Don’t overlook that sweep, though.

Brandon Phillips hit one of Cincinnati’s three homers and drove

in four more runs on Thursday afternoon, leading the ailing Reds to

a 12-5 victory and their first three-game sweep of the Indians

since 2008.

Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick also homered for the Reds, who had a

season-high 17 hits.

”What a series!” Ludwick said. ”What a win!”

No surprise that Phillips played a starring role for the NL

Central leaders. He went 8 for 13 with two homers and seven RBIs

against the team that gave up on him in 2006, raising his career

average against Cleveland to .356.

He also paid a price for a dust-up between Indians starter Derek

Lowe and Reds manager Dusty Baker, getting hit in the arm by a

pitch during a 5-3 win on Wednesday night. Phillips wasn’t aware of

why Lowe hit him.

”To be honest, I don’t even know what he said,” Phillips said.

”We won. We’re in first place, that’s all I care about. We’re too

busy winning.”

Mike Leake went 4 1-3 innings before having to leave the game,

still feeling the effects of a nasty stomach virus that swept

through the clubhouse at the start of the series. Jose Arredondo

(4-1) pitched out of a threat in the fifth.

Votto hit a three-run homer in the first inning off Josh Tomlin

(3-4), who had been 4-0 in five career interleague starts.

Cleveland’s Michael Brantley extended his hitting streak to 21

games, longest in the majors this season.

Other than that, there wasn’t much good for the Indians during

the visit to the Ohio River city.

”Not the way you wanted to finish a road trip,” manager Manny

Acta said. ”You’ve got to give them credit. They beat us on both

sides of the ball. Their starters pretty much held our offense

down, and they out-hit us, too.”

Phillips was upset at his treatment in Cleveland before he was

traded to Cincinnati. He has mellowed over the years, but got a lot

of enjoyment out of beating his former team.

”Deep down, it feels good to beat up on the Tribe,” Phillips

said. ”But they’re moving in the right direction. Manny Acta’s a

good coach – I mean manager – and the majority of the guys who are

there are new. So, go Tribe.”

There’s plenty of intrigue for the rematch by Lake Erie next

week.

Lowe holds a personal grudge against Baker for something that

happened between them several years ago – he won’t say what

exactly. When Mat Latos threw an inside fastball to Lowe during the

second game of the series, he gestured toward Baker, who waved his

finger back.

Lowe plunked Phillips on the arm in the bottom of the inning,

drawing a warning from the umpires. There were no further on-field

problems.

Lowe accused Baker of ordering the pitch because of their

personal issues. A day later, Baker said it wasn’t personal but a

payback for Lowe hitting Votto in the back during a 2009 game.

Their exchange provided an edge to the series, which resumes Monday

in Cleveland with Lowe on the mound.

Because it’ll be in an AL park, Lowe won’t have to bat.

The Reds won the first two games of the series even though more

than a half-dozen players were sick. Leake had to be pushed back a

day to give him more time to recover. He left after giving up seven

hits, including two solo homers by Shin-Soo Choo, in 4 1-3

innings.

An exhausted Leake sat on the bench and buried his face in a

towel. Baker came over and put his hands on Leake’s shoulders,

showing his appreciation for the pitcher’s effort.

NOTES: With their sweep, the Reds tied the intrastate series at

39-39. … The Reds are 6-3 in interleague play, the Indians 3-6.

… Reds 3B Scott Rolen will do a weekend rehab stint at Triple-A

Louisville and could rejoin the Reds in Cleveland. Rolen has been

on the DL since May 12 with a sore left shoulder. … Each Indians

starting pitcher had a single in the series. Reliever Esmil Rogers

also singled on Thursday. … The Indians completed a 4-5 trip to

Detroit, St. Louis and Cincinnati. They return home for six games

against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. … The Reds completed a 5-4

homestand and headed to New York for three games against the Mets.

.. There has been at least one homer in each of the last 59 games

at Great American Ball Park, the longest active streak in the

majors. … OF Chris Heisey left in the fifth with a mild groin

strain.

Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay