Phillies 6, Reds 3
Rollins hit a leadoff home run, extending his hitting streak to 30 games, and fell a double short of the cycle as the Phillies gained a game in the NL wild-card race with a 6-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
The Phillies have won four of five and are a game behind Houston, which lost 3-2 to the Chicago Cubs. Both teams have six games left.
“I don’t think about the streak too much, maybe a couple of times in the hotel room,” Rollins said. “I told myself to not get caught up in it. I have to go out and do it. It helps me not think about it.”
Chase Utley added his first career inside-the-park homer and Cory Lidle turned in his longest outing in seven starts as the Phillies improved to 39-39 on the road this season, including 6-3 on the trip that ended Sunday.
“We don’t think about what Houston is doing while we’re on the field at all,” Lidle said. “We’re scoreboard watching, but not during the game. Then, it’s all about us.”
Rollins’ 11th home run of the season, off Reds left-hander Randy Keisler, was his third leadoff shot of the season and 12th of his career.
“He’s the key player right now,” Lidle said. “He’s getting on base, he’s stealing bags, he’s making the pitchers think about something other than the hitters. It’s fun to watch.”
Utley increased the lead to 4-0 in the fifth with his 25th homer of the season and third of the series. Center fielder Ryan Freel lunged for Utley’s drive to left-center and kicked it toward left, and Utley beat the relay threw from shortstop Felipe Lopez with a dive over catcher Jason LaRue that reminded Phillies manager Charlie Manuel of Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams.
“He looked like he was diving into the end zone,” Manuel said. “He wasn’t going to let anything stop him.”
The inside-the-park homer was Philadelphia’s first since Rollins hit one at San Diego on Aug. 5, 2004.
Lidle (12-11), facing the team that traded him to Philadelphia last August, allowed eight hits and three runs—two earned—while improving to 3-1 in his last four starts. He walked one and had four strikeouts while giving some rest to Manuel’s bullpen with seven innings, his longest outing since he went eight innings in Philadelphia’s 3-1 loss to Milwaukee on Aug. 5.
“That seven innings was big,” Manuel said. “Our bullpen’s been pretty well-worked.”
Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 36th save in 39 opportunities.
Keisler (2-1) gave up eight hits and four runs with three walks and five strikeouts. His two wins were in relief.
Edwin Encarnacion hit his eighth homer of the season with one out in the fifth for the Reds’ first run. Lopez reached on an error and scored on Rich Aurilia’s groundout in the sixth, and Austin Kearns doubled and scored on a double play in the seventh.
“We had a couple of at bats that could have turned the game around, but (Lidle) didn’t give in,” Reds interim manager Jerry Narron said.
“We won the series,” Manuel said. “Hopefully, it’ll be good enough. We have to find a way to make up two games somehow.”
Rollins’ hitting streak is the 39th of at least 30 games in major league history and 19th in National League history. It is the second-longest in Phillies history, one game shorter than Ed Delahanty’s in 1899. … Keisler’s appearance was his first against the Phillies since he started for the New York Yankees on July 16, 2001, at now-demolished Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. … Reds right-hander David Weathers celebrated his 36th birthday and rookie catcher Miguel Perez his 22nd on Sunday.