Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Aaron Harang. Yes, Brandon Phillips had two home runs and drove in three runs, but on a night when we needed a clutch pitching performance to stop the bleeding, Harang stepped up like an ace. 6.0 IP, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K. The Phillies threatened to run away with this one several times, and Harang said, "Siddown!"
- Harang gave up back to back homers to start the second to Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth. After surrendering 32 runs in two games, the collective thought was "Here we go again."
- And so it went in the third inning. Jimmy Rollins singled to lead it off, and moved to second on Shane Victorino's single. Chase Utley doubled to drive in Rollins, and Ryan Howard walked. The first four batters had reached, the bases were loaded and there were no outs. Then Harang got nasty. He struck out Jayson Werth. He induced an infield pop up from Greg Dobbs. And he got Pedro Feliz to ground out softly back to the pitcher's mound. Inning ended. Scoring over.
- Finally the offense went to work. Realizing that Joey Votto can't carry them all the time, Jerry Hairston led off the fourth with a single, and Brandon Phillips hit his twelfth homer of the year. 3-2, and suddenly it was a ballgame again.
- On a questionable play by Willy Taveras, catcher Carlos Ruiz opened the bottom half of the fourth with a triple. Harang struck out J.A. Happ, and got grounders from Rollins and Victorino. Runner on third and no outs? No runs!
- Phillips got his thirteenth home run in the sixth inning. Tie game. Afterwards, Phillips talked about how the game last night "opened their eyes." He must have taken things personally because this win is as attributable to him as it is anyone.
- Arthur Rhodes pitched the seventh inning. He ended up facing Eric Bruntlett with runners on second and third with two outs. ***SPOILER ALERT!*** Rhodes strikes him out like a sucker!
- David Weathers came in to pitch the eighth. Paul Janish might have been a good choice for a late inning defensive replacement, but was used up from pitching last night. Instead, Jerry Hairston threw a ball away that enabled Pedro Feliz to reach second. John Mayberry pinch ran, and Carlos Ruiz bunted him to third. One out. A walk to Matt Stairs, and then a grounder to first base. Votto threw home and Mayberry was called out. Replays appeared to show he was safe, but the Reds finally caught a break. Shane Victorino grounded into a fielder's choice and the Reds escaped unscathed. Few saw Weathers as a competent reliever going into the season and would have been apoplectic if you suggested that he'd be the eighth inning guy, but my hat is off to Stormy. He gets the job done.
- Joey Votto had been hitless in this game, but doubled off of Brad Lidge to lead off the ninth. You might remember when I said that Votto wasn't going to carry this offense every day. Well, today was one of the days that he felt like winning us the game. Phillips bunted him to third, despite his hot hitting. Ninth inning of a tie game and your All-Star closer in the pen? That's when it's okay to go for small ball. And it worked! Two batters later, Ramon Hernandez singled to drive in Votto as the winning run!
- Speaking of our All-Star closer, Francisco Cordero came in to face Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, and Eric Bruntlett - the heart of the Phillies order. No sweat. Save #21.
- Reds pitchers held the Phillies hitless in five opportunities with a runner on third and less than two outs.
- David Weathers got the win, his first of the season. Aaron Harang still hasn't won since May 25.
- Ryan Howard's homer was his 198th, which ties him with Joe DiMaggio and Adam Dunn for sixth most in a player's first six seasons.
- The second basemen were the only players to have multi-hit games. Brandon Phillips had two hits, both homers, and Chase Utley had three.
- A win tomorrow evens the season series against the Phillies.