Reds 4, Phillies 3
LaRue drove in the go-ahead run on a fielder’s choice grounder in the eighth inning and the Cincinnati Reds snapped Philadelphia’s six-game winning streak with a 4-3 victory Monday night.
The Phillies fell five games behind idle San Francisco in the wild-card race.
“All we’re doing is playing for next year, but we’re going to play teams in the hunt,” LaRue said. “We’re not in the playoff race, but we still have to play hard. We can be spoilers.”
Wily Mo Pena led off the eighth against reliever Felix Rodriguez (5-8) with a double into the right-center field gap. Reds manager Dave Miley sent Darren Bragg up to pinch-hit for Jacob Cruz, and Bragg laid down a perfect bunt up the third-base line on the first pitch.
“There was a chance Cruz could get it down, but we felt very confident that Bragg could get it down,” Miley said.
LaRue followed with a sharp one-hopper to second baseman Placido Polanco, who made a diving backhanded stop but couldn’t get up and throw in time to get Pena at the plate.
“Wily got a good jump on the contact play,” Miley said. “We were fortunate that he had to dive at it. If it was right at him, Wily’s in no-man’s land. That’s the chance you take.”
Gavin Floyd gave up three runs on four hits in the first inning before settling down to allow just four more hits in the final five innings of his third big league start. He had one walk and five strikeouts.
“We’re a longshot,” Bowa said of Philadelphia’s playoff chances. “We’ve just got to keep winning. We have to win six out of seven again. Those guys are out there grinding it out.”
Paul Wilson failed for the ninth time to win his 10th game. He allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings. Wilson is 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA in nine starts since he beat Milwaukee in his last start before the All-Star break. He also left two games with leads before the bullpen blew saves and spent 18 days on the disabled list with back problems.
“When you throw strikes down in the strike zone, you’re usually successful,” Wilson said. “I was successful tonight.”
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead on Jim Thome’s sacrifice fly in the first, but the Reds responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Ryan Freel led off with a single, stole second and third and scored when Floyd failed to cover first on D’Angelo Jimenez’s grounder which first baseman Jim Thome fielded near the line and several feet behind the base. Jimenez was credited with an infield single. Jimenez stole second and scored on Adam Dunn’s bloop double down the left-field line. Cruz drove in Dunn with a single up the middle, snapping a 0-for-10 slump.
“That was my fault,” Floyd said. “Foul or not, I have to get over there. I wish that first inning had never happened. I wish I could take the first inning back.”
“One mistake,” Wilson said. “That was the right pitch to throw in that situation. I was trying to get a groundball to third, and I left it up.”
Reds OF Austin Kearns was scratched from the Reds’ original starting lineup with an eye problem. … Cincinnati 1B Sean Casey, mired in a 1-for-15 slump, got the day off. … Jacob Cruz made his first start of the season at first base. … Reds SS Barry Larkin started for the first time since Sept. 3 … The Reds tied their season high with four stolen bases … Burrell’s homer was the club-record 210th allowed by Reds pitchers. The previous record of 209 was set last season.