Brewers lose to Reds again on Phillips’ single
MILWAUKEE (AP)—Brandon Phillips prevented Milwaukee from gaining ground in the playoff race—on his final swing of the season.
Phillips hit a go-ahead single with two outs in the 11th inning, moments after breaking his finger on a bunt attempt, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the slumping Brewers 5-4 on Tuesday night.
“He hit a rocket out there,” Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said, not knowing how bad Phillips was hurt.
Hours later, the Reds issued a statement that said Phillips won’t play again this season.
The Brewers missed a chance to gain ground in the playoff race. They remained 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central and three ahead of Philadelphia in the wild-card standings with 17 to play.
“I’m not a psychologist, but I feel like everybody in here wants it so bad,” Brewers reliever Seth McClung said. “I know it’s not lack of trying. I can guarantee that.”
McClung (5-6), the team’s seventh reliever, started the 11th and took the loss.
He struck out Chris Dickerson, but Corey Patterson laced a double to left. Patterson went to third on Jeff Keppinger’s groundout and Joey Votto was intentionally walked to bring up Phillips, who first tried to bunt for a hit. But he fouled off a pitch that hit him on the hand, breaking his right index finger.
Phillips showed no signs of the injury, getting right back in the batter’s box. Then he punched a 1-1 delivery into right-center to score Patterson and slapped his hands together to celebrate.
But after the game, Phillips had tears in his eyes in the clubhouse. Reds spokesman Rob Butcher said the second baseman had a broken finger and would be examined Wednesday in Cincinnati.
Phillips wasn’t available for comment.
“I just found out,” Patterson said minutes after the game ended. “That’s really a bad break for us. He’s really one of the leaders of the team. I don’t know if he’s going to be able to come back the rest of this year or not. I doubt it from what I’m hearing.”
Jon Adkins (1-0) got the win by retiring Mike Cameron with a runner at second to end the 10th. The Reds purchased Adkins’ contract from Triple-A Louisville before the game. He led the International League with 30 saves.
Francisco Cordero worked the 11th for his ninth straight save and 29th in 35 chances. He retired the side in order.
Patterson said games like this one show that the Reds haven’t quit.
“They’re fighting for their division and we know we’re getting their best,” he said. “So when we can take two out of three from the Cubs and do well in this series, that shows we can play with the teams atop our division.”
The Reds have won the first two games in Milwaukee after a 6-3 homestand. Baker doesn’t want to hear about his team playing spoiler, though.
“I don’t like that role,” he said. “That means you’re out of it. I don’t want to spoil it for anybody, but you’ve got to play to win. If it comes down to spoiling it for somebody, that’s not motivation for somebody to play.”
Reds starter Ramon Ramirez pitched a one-hit gem through six innings in his second career start and left with a 4-1 lead that the Brewers erased on Ray Durham’s pinch-hit, three-run homer in the seventh.
Jared Burton, who was making his fourth appearance since coming off the 15-day disabled list on Sept. 1, started the seventh in relief of Ramirez, who left for a pinch hitter.
Ramirez worked out of big trouble in the first, stranding the bases loaded after Prince Fielder’s RBI single.
That was the only hit Ramirez allowed in his third appearance since being recalled Aug. 30 from Louisville. He walked four and struck out four, retiring the side in order his last four innings. It was the second time in a row that the bullpen failed to hold his lead.
Ramirez made his major league debut on Aug. 30 and was the victim of a blown save in Cincinnati’s 7-6 win.
Cincinnati tied this one at 1 on Patterson’s sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Encarnacion’s 25th homer was a two-run shot in the sixth. Bruce followed with his 17th, the eighth time the Reds have hit back-to-back homers this season.
That chased Milwaukee starter Jeff Suppan, who went 5-0 in six August starts but has lost twice this month. He gave up six hits and walked two.
Durham’s previous pinch-hit home run came exactly a year ago. While with San Franscico, he connected off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Jonathan Broxton. … The Brewers dropped to 11-7 in extra-inning games while the Reds improved to 7-8.