PGX: Big win for many reasons

Wednesday afternoon’s 4-3 Reds win over the Phillies on Jay Bruce’s two-run home run in the eighth was big in many ways.

*They took two of three to claim the series

*It meant a 4-2 home stand before beginning a tough 11-game, three city road trip heading into the All-Star break.

*The Reds beat Roy Halladay, who pitched a complete game. They’ve now beaten two pitchers that have thrown perfect games this season, incidentally. (Dallas Braden at OAK was the other)

“It is a big win because those are the type of guys were going to be facing if we make it to the playoffs,” Bruce said. “It was big for us to come back and [for] everyone to put the at-bats together that they did to get that win.”

*It was the Reds’ MLB leading 25th come-from-behind win and their 14th win in the final at-bat, which tied the Braves for the MLB lead. Cincinnati was trailing 3-0 after four innings.

“You want to leave before this road trip on a high note. It doesn’t get any higher than this game today,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It was a very well-played game in all respects.”

The good —

*Joey Votto moved into a tie for the NL lead with 18 homers when he hit a 1-2 pitch into the right field bullpen. It was a tough pitch low and inside. Not many dudes could have done that there with that location. Votto has reached base in a MLB season-high 38-straight games.

*On the heels of his rare bad night and 33-scoreless appearance streak ender, Arthur Rhodes got the win when he pitched a 1-2-3 top of the eighth — striking out Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and getting Raul Ibanez to fly out.

“It was good to see Dusty get me out there today against the same guys and me have a 1-2-3 inning,” Rhodes said.

*After Jonny Gomes leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth, Bruce completed the comeback when he smoked a first-pitch into the right field seats. It was a no-doubter.

The not-so-good —

*Starter Aaron Harang’s one blemish was a big one. Dane Sardinha, the former Reds prospect and a .130 career hitter in the big leagues entering the day, hit a first pitch for a three-run homer with two outs in the fourth and Halladay on deck.

*The Philadelphia seventh and eighth hitters were a combined 10-for-17 with three homers in the last two games. Whether it was Brian Schneider, Sardinha or Wilson Valdez, all of them were playing because a regular is injured.

“Aaron made just one mistake to Sardinha,” Baker said. “The bottom of the order here, they killed us. We held their big boys in check pretty good. But the seventh and eighth hitters hit three three-run homers in two days.”

News —

After the game, the Reds optioned LHP Daniel Ray Herrera to Triple-A Louisville. Herrera has been inconsistent this season while going 1-3 with a 3.91 ERA in 36 games. He had 11 of his 39 inherited runners score and retired 23 of 36 first batters faced.

“We sent him down there to get his act together and find his control,” Baker said. “Usually he’s a guy that can throw wherever he wants to throw it. It seems like the last couple of months, he’s been in and out with control and location. He will be back.”

More quotes —

“It’s important to anybody, I don’t care who you are. Arthur was the first one to come in here and say ‘thanks for getting me back out there.’ I really didn’t need that. I was going to get him back out there no matter what. It’s apropos that he got the loss last night and got the win today.” — Dusty Baker on getting Arthur Rhodes back on the mound after Tuesday night.

“We had some opportunities with runners on third and less than two outs. You just pray those don’t haunt you. You could tell that very good pitchers, they seem to bear down and know how to get out of those situations. He reached back. He had his best velocity and location when he was in trouble.” — Baker on Halladay.

“I made bad pitches in the eighth. I left two balls up that cost me.” — Phillies starter Roy Halladay

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1 Comment

As we approach the All-Star break, it’s funny to reflect on expectations coming out of Spring Training and how different they are now. Back then, I hoped for a .500 team; now I expect the Reds to win every game. I was wrong about Cabrera, Rolen, Cairo and Rhodes – maybe Dusty’s onto something with his veterans fetish. At this point, anything less than a playoff berth’s going to be a disappointment (and a wasted opportunty – small market teams can’t compete every year, they need to jump on every chance that comes along!). I didn’t think there’d be room for Volquez in the rotation; now the Reds need to bring him up pronto-denty. I hope Arthur Rhodes doesn’t make the All-star staff so he gets 4 days rest – same for the rest of the team. Now, that’s a selfish fan perspective for you! I’m awash in the Kool-aid!

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