Reds 7, Phillies 5, 11 innings
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Fresh off a nice win, the Cincinnati Reds were ready for a day off.
The Reds held their NL wild-card lead by winning two of three at Philadelphia. Cincinnati starts a three-game series at NL Central-leading St. Louis on Tuesday night.
“It was very important to win this series,” shortstop Rich Aurilia said. “We’re going to enjoy the off-day and get back to work. That will be another big series for us. In August, every series becomes important.”
Reds manager Jerry Narron agreed.
“It’s going to be like this everyday until the end of the season,” he said. “That’s what makes the game fun. Some might say it’s too early to think about pennant races and scoreboard watching, but this is baseball.”
The Phillies fell four games behind the Reds for the extra playoff spot. Jimmy Rollins had four hits and made a fine play at shortstop to end the 10th.
“As hard as we play, it seems like we deserve better,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We had a lot of chances but couldn’t capitalize. You’d think one of these times we’d get the big hit.”
Brandon Phillips led off the Cincinnati 11th with a single against Ryan Madson (10-8). David Ross sacrificed him and Castro, who entered the game in the seventh, hit a double. Griffey followed a single for his 1,600th RBI, 22nd on the career list.
Bill Bray (3-2) pitched the final two innings to earn the win.
Encarnacion had two hits and drove in two runs, extending his career-high hitting streak to 10 games. In the series, the third baseman had three homers and six RBIs.
Encarnacion’s error helped the Phillies score twice in the ninth to tie it against Eddie Guardado. Encarnacion could not come up with Rollins’ hard grounder, and pinch-hitter Chris Coste hit an RBI single.
After Chase Utley fanned for the second out, Howard lined a single to right.
Phillies starter Brett Myers had retired eight straight batters before Encarnacion launched a ball deep into the left-center field seats for his 11th homer of the season.
Dunn followed with a drive into the second deck in right for his team-high 35th homer and Aurilia followed with his 16th homer, a shot over the left-center field fence.
“It seemed like it happened real quick, like four or five pitches,” Aurilia said. “(Myers) threw more fastballs in that inning and we were able to take advantage of it.”
It was the first time since Oct. 2, 2005, that the Reds had accomplished the feat. Felipe Lopez, Dunn and Austin Kearns did it the last time, connecting off St. Louis’ Matt Morris in the third inning.
One batter after Aurilia homered, Myers hit David Ross on the upper left side. Ross exchanged some words with the pitcher while he made his way to first base. The situation quickly calmed down and Myers’ afternoon was finished.
Howard cut the deficit to 5-3 in the sixth with a two-run homer into the left-field seats. He raised his NL-leading RBI total to 105.
Cincinnati took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, helped by Ryan Freel’s hard slide.
Pitcher Eric Milton doubled off the center-field fence and Freel drew a walk. Scott Hatteberg followed with a grounder to second base that had a chance to be an inning-ending double play, but Freel’s slide caused Rollins to alter his motion. His throw sailed into the dugout, scoring Milton, and Encarnacion hit an RBI single.
“Freel’s play was big,” Narron said. “It seems like a little thing at the time, but it was a huge play in the game.”
Encarnacion is 15-for-34 with four homers and 12 RBIs during his 10-game hitting streak. … Howard’s 41 homers ties him with Cy Williams (1923) for the sixth-most in a single season for the Phillies. Mike Schmidt (1980) holds the team record with 48. … The Phillies won the season series over the Reds, 4-2.