The Philadelphia Phillies had surged back into the NL wild-card race over the weekend. Now they’re in danger of falling out of it yet again.
The Phillies will try to avoid a three-game sweep when they meet the Cincinnati Reds in the finale of their series at Great American Ball Park.
Philadelphia had won a season-high six straight games before dropping its last two. With a 7-6 loss to the Reds on Tuesday, the Phillies fell six games behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL wild-card race. They also trail four other teams.
“It’s kind of disappointing, the last couple of days,” Philadelphia first baseman Jim Thome said. “We’d played so well over the last week.”
Felipe Lopez hit a tiebreaking two-run triple in the sixth inning Tuesday and made a long throw from behind third base in the ninth to help the Reds clinch their first series win since taking two of three from the St. Louis Cardinals from Aug. 24-26.
The Phillies had runners on first and second with one out in the ninth when David Bell hit a sharp one-hopper that Lopez fielded near the outfield grass behind third. He only had time to throw out Bell at first, holding the runners to second and third. Jason Michaels then hit a fly to center to end it.
“Awesome, unbelievable,” said Cincinnati closer Danny Graves, who reached the 40-save mark for the first time in his career. “That’s the game right there if he doesn’t make the play.”
The Reds batted around in the first inning to jump out to a 5-0 lead, but the Phillies tied it after scoring four runs in the fourth.
Thome hit his 41st homer of the season to cut the deficit to 7-6 in the seventh, but Philadelphia could get no closer.
The Phillies are 6-3 on a 10-game road trip. They return to Citizens Bank Park to open a three-game series with Montreal on Friday.