The Reds (9-8) were held to one hit through 8 2-3 innings of Friday’s series opener until Scott Hatteberg hit a solo homer to tie the score at 1 in the ninth. In the 10th inning, Brandon Phillips’ RBI single with the bases load lifted Cincinnati to the 2-1 win.
“It seemed like we were asleep most of the game,” Hatteberg said. “It was good for us to get that miracle. The object of the game is to drive in more than you let in.”
Phillips’ RBI was his seventh in four games, and helped the Reds snap a four-game home losing streak against the Phillies (4-11)—who dropped to 0-4 in extra-inning games and have the worst record in the National League.
“We’re a little snake-bit right now,” said Jon Lieber, who allowed one hit in 5 2-3 innings of his first start of the season for the Phils.
Philadelphia was without NL MVP Ryan Howard for a second consecutive game on Friday due to a sprained ligament below his left knee. Howard hit three home runs in three games at Cincinnati last season, and is expected back in the lineup during the series.
Center fielder Aaron Rowand went 2-for-4 on Friday, and is batting .433 (13-for-30) with three doubles during an eight-game hitting streak. Rowand is 5-for-14 (.357) with a homer and four RBIs in his career against Saturday’s starter Eric Milton (0-2, 5.06 ERA), who tries again for his first win of the season.
Milton, who began this season on the disabled list because of back spasms, allowed three runs and three hits while throwing 98 pitches in just five innings of a 10-6 loss to Milwaukee on Monday. He was knocked around for 10 hits and four runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-3 loss to Pittsburgh on April 8, and has never opened a season with losses in his first three starts.
The left-hander gave up three runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings of his only start against Philadelphia a year ago, a 7-5 win in 12 innings on Aug. 13. Milton, who pitched for the Phillies in 2004, is 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA in three career starts against his former team.
Philadelphia counters with Cole Hamels (1-0, 3.32). After making two quality starts to open the season without a win to show for it, Hamels is coming off his least effective outing of the season but still managed to get his first victory.
Hamels allowed just three runs and 10 hits while striking out 15 in 13 innings in his first two starts. He gave up five runs and nine hits with only three strikeouts in six innings of last Saturday’s 8-5 win over Houston.
“That’s the game of baseball. You put out some good starts and don’t get a win and you win your first in a game I wasn’t too pleased about,” Hamels said.
The left-hander returns to Great American Ball Park, where he made his first career start on May 12 but failed to get a decision in an 8-4 victory. Hamels pitched five scoreless innings of one-hit ball while striking out seven, but issued five walks.