Thursday, August 23, 2012

Phillies battle past Reds in 11 innings

PHILADELPHIA - A night after throwing their game-day act back to the 1990s, the Phillies Thursday threw one back to another era of some franchise relevance - the recent 2000's.
They pitched well. They battled. They treated 41,972 to four-plus hours of entertainment. And they defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 4-3, in 11 innings.
Not only that, in winning for the fourth time in six games, they didn't even have to model any last-century uniforms.

John Mayberry delivered Chase Utley with a ground single to left in the 11th to help Raul Valdes improve to 3-2.
Frandsen had greeted greeted Alfredo Simon (2-2) with a leadoff single and breezed to third when Chase Utley lined a double to right. Dusty Baker ordered Ryan Howard intentionally walked, but Domonic Brown tapped to first and the Reds forced Frandsen at the plate before Mayberry enabled the Phils to split the four-game series.
The Phillies had a chance to win in the ninth, loading the bases with one out, but Brown hit into a night-extending double play. By then, though, Brown had collected two hits, including a double, and had scored twice.
Erik Kratz muscled a one-out single to shallow center in the 10th but could only reach third when Jimmy Rollins rammed a double into the right-center gap. After Brian Schneider grounded to third, Juan Pierre popped out.
In a pitching matchup between Cy Young Award candidates, neither Johnny Cueto nor Cole Hamels overwhelmed. Cueto lasted five innings, throwing 111 pitches. Hamels lasted six innings, striking out four. Cueto remained at 16-6, Hamels at 14-6.
The Phillies used consecutive singles by Brown, Mayberry and Kratz to load the bases with one out in the eighth, and forced a 3-3 tie when Rollins lofted a sacrifice fly RBI just deep enough to left-center to lure the swift Brown safely home. Ty Wigginton struck out to end the inning, and the Phils trusted Jonathon Papelbon in the ninth of a tie game.
Papelbon promptly walked Ryan Hanigan, who was sacrificed to second, where he would stay, calling the Phils to their bottom-of-the-ninth stage.
For the heavily touted event, Charlie Manuel would select a batting order that was, at best, curious. He had Michael Martinez, not Jimmy Rollins, at short. Laynce Nix was in center. Frandsen, not Placido Polanco, was at third, though that was on recent merit.
That plot turned typical of the season in a two-run Cincinnati third. After Jay Bruce singled, Ryan Ludwick hammered a sharp grounder to short … and off the glove of Martinez for what was ruled a single. Todd Frazier followed with a long but ordinary fly to center that Nix turned and watched hit the wall before bobbling the rebound. That sent Frazier to third and Cincinnati to a 3-0 lead.
But the Phillies answered in the bottom of the inning when Cueto walked Howard before Brown sliced the Reds' starter's 111th pitch into the left-center gap for a double. That gave Brown five extra-base hits in as many games, pushed Howard to third and chased Cueto.
Nix took reliever Jose Arredondo with a long sacrifice fly RBI to right, Brown taking third. From there, he sprinted home on Kratz's sacrifice fly to shallow left-center, pulling the Phils within 3-2. Pinch-hitting for Martinez, Rollins tapped out in front of the plate.
The Reds loaded the bases with one out in the first when Frazier rolled a soft grounder to Frandsen. But despite the possibility of forcing Zack Cozart at the plate, Frandsen took the certain out at first and the Reds had a 1-0 lead.
Considering the pitchers, that suddenly seemed like plenty.
The Phils challenged Cueto in the fourth when Pierre drew a one-out walk and Frandsen was hit by a pitch. But when Utley singled to center, third base coach Juan Samuel directed Pierre home … where he would be thrown out by Brandon Stubbs. Howard walked to load the bases for Brown, who was overwhelmed by Cueto in an unsightly strikeout. So with two walks, a hit batter and a single in the inning, the Phillies were still scoreless.
“He has talent, he has stuff, he has command of his fast ball,” Manuel said of Cueto. “I think that's what has made him what he is. And experience. If you look, he has more command than he used to have, especially with his changeup. It makes his fastball better. He can be overpowering.”
Hamels singled to lead off the fifth and was sacrificed to second by Pierre. A Cueto balk sent him to third where he would remain as Frandsen fanned and Utley hit a non-threatening liner to shallow right.
Phillippe Aumont, the presumed gem of the odd and unpopular 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle, made his major-league debut, throwing a scoreless eighth to keep the Phils within one run, allowing them to pull even in the bottom of the inning.
J.J. Hoover walked Pierre to open the ninth, and the Phillies were content to sacrifice him to second. But first baseman Miguel Cairo took Frandsen's bunt and casually tried a backhand swipe for an out as Frandsen stutter-stepped up the line … and dropped the ball. That gave the Phillies runners on first and second.
The Phils loaded the bases when Cairo could only smother Howard's infield hit, but the game rolled into extra innings when Brown hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Jeremy Horst, re-activated earlier in the day after a paternity leave, pitched a clean 10th and was replaced in the 11th - and final inning - by Valdes.


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