Big night for Phillips
The Three Stars from a 5-3 Reds win over the Pirates:
No. 3 star: The Reds bullpen — 2 ip, 2 H, 2 K was the combined effort of Logan Ondrusek, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton, who pitched a one-hit ninth for his first save as a Red while stepping in for a resting Aroldis Chapman. In the context of Monday’s 14-inning affair, that included eight scoreless from the bullpen. it was even bigger that they still tossed two innings of zeroes. The bullpen’s scoreless streak goes back 13 2/3 innings.
There is a sign in Dusty Baker’s office that reads: “The most important things in life are a good friend and a good bullpen, — not necessarily in that order.”
“That’s real key,” Baker said. “You’ve got to have a good bullpen today, especially when pitchers are going six and seven innings and very few complete games, you’ve got to have a good bullpen. In 30 seconds you can ruin two hours’ worth of work if you don’t. It’s very deflating to a team to blow games late in the game.”
No. 2 star: Mike Leake, 7 ip, 9 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3K, 2 HR, 91 pitches/65 strikes. It was a good bounceback start for Leake after he was pummeled by the Phillies for six runs over 2 1/3 innings last week. He gave up Alex Presley’s first-inning solo homer and pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez’s two-run shot in the seventh. Leake also notched two groundball double plays and spared the bullpen by going deep in the game.
“I felt good. I missed a few spots,” Leake said. “But I was able to make the pitch when I needed to. The first home run was a bad pitch. The Sanchez home run wasn’t a bad pitch. He was able to get to it.”
No. 1 star: Brandon Phillips — 2-for-2, HR, 2 RBI, 2 runs. On the first pitch by Kevin Correia in the bottom of the first, Phillips led off with a homer to left field, which answered the Presley homer in the top of the first. In the second, he hit a one-out double and alertly scored the club’s third run of the inning on a wild pitch. It was a good outing, considering the earlier events of the day and last night. Phillips looked pretty drained during his postgame session with reporters.
“With them scoring first, it just really shows that we’ve got to go out there and put something on the board early,” Phillips said. “I just went up there and tried to see the ball and tried to hit it and hit something hard. I hit a line drive, I’m surprised the ball went over the fence. I’m happy I hit a leadoff home run, it felt good.”
Click here for the game story from Mark Clements.
News and notes:
*Phillips was also involved in the defensive play of the night in the fifth inning. With runners on first and second and one out, Brock Holt hit a single to right field. Jay Bruce’s throw was cut off by Joey Votto, who flipped to Phillips behind the runner at first base for the out that helped kill Pittsburgh’s rally.
“It was just a heads up play,” Phillips said. “He was just coming around the base real hard and trying to force him to cut the ball off in case Clint tried to score. I just snuck in there and tried to make things happen like I always do and try to be the sneaky player that I am. I snuck in there and got a key out and it really helped us that inning. That right there, I feel like that was the game.”
*Scott Rolen, in his first start since Sept. 4 after he missed time with a back injury, hit his first homer since Aug. 15. It was a first-pitch shot to left field in the eighth that served as an insurance run.