PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Aaron Rowand knew right after he turned away from an inside pitch with the bases loaded that he had to get a hit.
The Phillies overcame deficits in the eighth and ninth innings to win for the seventh time in 10 games, and gain ground in the NL wild-card standings.
Back in the playoff chase after dealing one-fourth of their opening day roster before last month’s trade deadline, the Phillies entered three games behind the Reds. Cincinnati still has a half-game lead after San Diego and Arizona both lost Friday night.
David Dellucci led off the 14th with a single against Elizardo Ramirez, who still is scheduled to start Saturday night. Ramirez (4-9) walked Chase Utley and intentionally walked Ryan Howard to load the bases because pitcher Aaron Fultz was due up and the Phillies had no position players left.
Fultz inexplicably came up swinging and lined out to shortstop, but Rowand lined a single to right-center to win it. Before the hit, Rowand, who has been hit by 16 pitches this season, jumped away from a fastball that nearly hit him and forced in the winning run.
“I stepped out of the box and I realized I should’ve taken it,” Rowand said. “I looked over to the bench and I was hearing it from the guys. I started laughing.”
The Reds used nine pitchers, including starters Aaron Harang and Ramirez. All of Cincinnati’s relievers pitched except Rheal Cormier, who couldn’t go because of a hip injury that isn’t expected to keep him out longer.
Edwin Encarnacion homered twice and drove in three runs for the Reds.
“We had a ton of chances, but couldn’t get it done,” left fielder Adam Dunn said. “We just wasted opportunities.”
Fultz (3-0) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings for the win. He struck out Todd Hollandsworth to leave the bases loaded in the 13th. Hollandsworth made a diving catch on Jimmy Rollins’ drive to leave two runners on in the 13th.
The Phillies took a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning on Pat Burrell’s RBI triple after Rollins hit a tying, two-run homer. But pinch-hitter Javier Valentin’s two-run homer off All-Star closer Tom Gordon put the Reds ahead 5-4 in the ninth.
“We stayed after them,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Philadelphia answered in the bottom half on Shane Victorino’s sacrifice fly against Eddie Guardado, who was 7-for-7 in save chances for the Reds. Chris Coste started the inning with a double to snap an 0-for-12 slump. Pinch-runner Chris Roberson advanced to third on catcher David Ross’s throwing error on a pickoff attempt and scored easily on Victorino’s one-out drive to right field.
With one out in the ninth, Valentin lined a shot into the right-field seats for his fourth pinch-hit homer of the season and second in as many games. It was Gordon’s fourth blown save in 31 opportunities.
But Cincinnati’s beleaguered relievers again couldn’t hold the lead. The Reds have overhauled their bullpen, acquiring five relievers since July 6. But they have 18 blown saves in 46 chances this season.
“We battled all night,” Ross said. “If we play like this, we’ll be in the playoffs.”
After Victorino led off with a pinch-hit single off Bill Bray in the eighth, Rollins hit his career-best 15th homer to left-center to make it 3-3.
Utley singled with one out and one out later Todd Coffey entered to face Burrell, who hit a shot to deep center that just eluded the reach of Ken Griffey Jr. It was the first triple of the season for the slow-footed Burrell, who uncharacteristically pumped his fist when he reached third.
Phillies starter Jon Lieber allowed three runs—two earned—and five hits in seven-plus innings. He fanned seven.
Right-hander Kyle Lohse, making his third appearance with the Reds, gave up one run and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out eight in his longest outing of the season, including eight starts with Minnesota.
Encarnacion gave the Reds a 2-1 lead on a two-run homer in the fourth inning. He hit one deep into the seats in left in the sixth for his first career multihomer game.
Burrell had a long RBI single off the left-field wall in the first inning.
The Phillies swept a three-game series in Cincinnati during a 13-1 run in May. … Phillies P Randy Wolf struck out pinch hitting for Ryan Madson to leave two runners on in the 12th. … Reds P Eric Milton, pinch hitting for Ryan Franklin, had an infield single to load the bases in the 13th, before Hollandsworth struck out. … Harang, who leads the Reds with 12 wins, made his first relief appearance since 2003 with Oakland. Harang pitched six innings against St. Louis on Wednesday.