- Sports & Recreation
- Cincinnati Reds
- Brandon Phillips
- Mike Leake
- Francisco Liriano
By John Perrotto, The Sports Xchange June 2, 2013 12:20 AM
Brandon Phillips was certain he was headed to the disabled list.PITTSBURGH --
The Cincinnati Reds' star second baseman and cleanup hitter suffered a bruised left forearm when hit by a pitch from Pittsburgh reliever Tony Watson in the eighth inning Saturday night. However, everything ended well for Phillips and the Reds as X-rays were negative and Mike Leake combined with three relievers on a 10-hit shutout to lead Cincinnati to a 2-0 victory at PNC Park. "When he hit me, I thought it was broken for sure," Phillips said. "It really hurt. I still really can't close my hand and make a fist. It's a blessing it's not broken. Hopefully, I'll play soon." Reds manager Dusty Baker said Phillips, who has a bruise, would sit out their games with the Pirates on Sunday and might miss a few more days. Meanwhile, Leake (5-2) scattered seven hits, walked one, struck out five and continued his recent hot streak: He is 3-0 with 0.27 ERA in his last four starts, having allowed only one run in 33 innings. "I've been pitching better," Leake said. "That's really all I can say. I've just been pitching better." Francisco Liriano (3-2) was the hard-luck loser as he gave up only one run in six innings and had 11 strikeouts, a season high for a Pirates pitcher. He also gave up four hits and one walk. Liriano spent the first seven seasons of his career in the American League before Pittsburgh signed him in the offseason. "Liriano was unbelievable," Baker said. "He was pitching backward, like American League style with breaking balls and changeups early in the count then fastballs later in the count. All I knew about him is he's a kid we tried to trade for when he was with Minnesota. And I see why. He was really good. "Leakie was good, too. He held them off the board, and that's what counts." Liriano struck out seven batters in a row between the first and third innings, tying the Pirates' record set by Erik Bedard on May, 3, 2012, at St. Louis. "I had a feeling from the start that Liriano was going to have a pretty good game, so I told myself it was going to be a tough one, keep it close," Leake said. Aroldis Chapman notched his 13th save with a scoreless ninth. Sam LeCure and Jonathan Broxton also pitched one inning apiece. Phillips and Todd Frazier each had two of the Reds' eight hits. Phillips is 9-for-19 in his last five games. Pittsburgh's Alex Presley, filling in for slumping leadoff hitter Starling Marte, had three hits in his first start since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis a day earlier. Garrett Jones added two hits. Presley, though, struck out against Chapman with runners on first and second to end the game. "It feels good from a personal standpoint to get called back up and show I can help the team," Presley said. "I was disappointed with the way it ended. Chapman is tough, but he gave me one pitch to hit and I fouled it off. That's a pitch I needed to hit and it might have been a different game if I had." Cincinnati led only 1-0 when Leake departed but added a run in the eighth when Joey Votto hit an RBI single off Watson. The Pirates' best scoring chance came in the bottom of the eighth when Presley and Neil Walker singled to put runners on the corners with no outs off. However, Jonathan Broxton escaped the jam, getting Russell Martin to hit an inning-ending fly out. The Pirates left 10 runners on base and did not have a hit in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position. "We couldn't get (hits) at the right time," Hurdle said. "Opportunities were out there, but we couldn't get anything going." Liriano set the Reds down in order through the first three but Cincinnati then pushed across the game's first run in the fourth inning without hitting a ball hard. With one out, Zack Cozart chopped an infield single to the left of the pitcher's mound, and Liriano juggled the ball and could not make a play. Cozart then moved to second on Votto's tapper in front of the plate and scored on Phillips' single to the right side of the infield. Liriano appeared to beat Phillips to the bag by a step when he caught first baseman Jones' throw, but first base umpire Bob Davidson called the runner safe. "That was a heads-up play by Cozart on the bases," Baker said. "A lot of times guys will kind of just glide into third base, but he kept coming the whole time." NOTES: Marte entered the day having hit .183 in his previous 18 games, was replaced in the starting lineup by Presley, who is 9-for-18 lifetime against Leake. Marte singled as a pinch-hitter off Chapman. ... Cincinnati OF Derrick Robinson made his third straight start in left field and went 1-for-4 after driving in two runs in Friday night's 6-0 win over the Pirates. ... Pittsburgh RHP James McDonald (right shoulder inflammation) pitched four scoreless innings Saturday for Class AA Altoona on a rehab start after giving up three runs in 2/3 inning in his first start for the Eastern League team Monday. ... The three-game series concludes Sunday with RHP Mat Latos (5-0, 3.01) pitching for the Reds against RHP Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.30).