Phillips uses bare hands to lift Reds

The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips wasn't sure how he did it. But Sam LeCure was grateful he did.

"I'll take him out to dinner for that," the Reds reliever said.

Phillips turned a spectacular barehanded double play in the top of the seventh inning to preserve a one-run lead, then belted the decisive home run in the bottom half, lifting the Reds to a 4-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on a rainy Friday evening at Great American Ball Park.

Jean Segura and Ryan Braun hit solo homers for Milwaukee. But it was Phillips who delivered the clinching plays in the seventh.

With Milwaukee trailing 3-2, LeCure walked Norichika Aoki and Segura with one out. Braun hit a hard grounder up the middle. Phillips went to his knees to field the ball bare-handed then, with his left knee resting on second base, threw a laser beam to Joey Votto at first for an inning-ending double play.

"I don't know how I made it, but I did," Phillips said. "I've practiced fielding short-hops barehanded before. But never with second base right in front of me. I took a chance."

Phillips wasn't finished. He batted second in the bottom of the seventh and launched a 1-0 pitch from Michael Gonzalez into the left-field seats for his sixth home run of the season, making the score 4-2.

"It was a changeup, I was sitting on something off-speed," Phillips said.

Aroldis Chapman picked up his eighth save. Alfredo Simon (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee was left to lament its missed opportunities. Despite Aoki, the Brewers' leadoff batter, being on base five times with three singles and two walks, he scored only one run, on a Chapman wild pitch in the ninth.

"That's his job," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "If he can do that five times a day, that's a good day for him. But then it's up to the other guys to get him in. We had opportunities. We just needed to get a couple of big hits."

The Brewers were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

To make matters worse for Milwaukee, starter Yovani Gallardo (3-2) struggled with his command and exited with 100 pitches after four innings. He gave up three runs and five hits and walked five.

"My command obviously sucked," Gallardo said, matter-of-factly. "There's no defense against walks. That's what hurt me today. Normally, I try to take something positive out of every start. But there's nothing to take out of this."

Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan, who was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, went 2 for 4.

Rookie left-hander Tony Cingrani pitched four innings for Cincinnati and allowed five hits, including the homers by Segura and Braun.

The Reds scored first when Shin-Soo Choo, who walked to begin the third, stole second and scored on Phillips' single to left.

Jay Bruce followed with a double off Aoki's glove in right field and Phillips scored to put the Reds ahead 2-0.

It took just four pitches from Cingrani for Milwaukee to tie the score in the fourth. Segura homered to right field on a 1-1 pitch. On Cingrani's ensuing delivery, Braun launched a 418-foot homer to right, making the score 2-2.

It was Milwaukee's fourth set of back-to-back homers this season.

Cingrani exited after throwing 85 pitches in four innings, his shortest outing of the season.

The Reds regained the lead when Donald Lutz extended his hitting streak to five games with a single in the fourth, stole second and scored on Zack Cozart's hit. That was all for Gallardo, who had thrown more than 30 pitches in the third and fourth innings.

"He's not a guy who's going to go nine innings and throw 80 pitches," Roenicke said of Gallardo's command. "But he struggled the whole time (tonight). I couldn't send him out there for the fifth after throwing that many pitches in consecutive innings."

NOTES: Catcher Corky Miller was designated for assignment. Hanigan, who'd been on the DL since April 21 with a strained left oblique, went 3 for 8 with two RBIs in three rehab appearances for Triple-A Louisville. ... Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto, on the DL since April 15 with a strained right lat, made his first rehab start for Class A Dayton on Thursday night and allowed one run and four hits with no walks and four strikeouts in three innings. ... Brewers right-hander Hiram Burgos is expected to start Saturday's game in Cincinnati. It's the first start since May 1 for Burgos, who was temporarily moved to the bullpen.
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