Aaron Harang pitched as stellar as we have come to expect of him, but the Reds really had to claw against Adam Eaton until he was lifted in the 8th inning, only managing to rough him up for 3 runs.
The pivotal inning was the 8th when the Phillies took a 1 run lead. Ryan Howard crushed a Kent Mercker pitch way out to centerfield, measuring the 6th longest home run in GABP history. It was only a solo home run and Mercker would escape further damage assisted by a 3-6-3 double play initated by Votto who was substitued in to the game in place of Hatteberg.
The Reds would answer back. With two outs in the 8th Corey (stop dissin’ me yo) Patterson decided that OBP was pointless at this juncture of the contest and opted to simply jolt one over the left center fence for a solo game tying shot instead of looking for a walk.
Cordero, throwing 95-96mph got thru the 9th easily setting up the Reds for the win via back to back walks against set up man Durbin. Curiously Brad Lidge, their closer, was left out of this game despite coming off the DL and being listed as available. Perhaps he gets the call from here on out in the 9th innings.
Baker, trying to keep his entire roster active, decided to use the underappreciated Ryan Freel and Norris Hopper who will play secondary roles to his favored “homeboys” Patterson and Bako in today’s events. Freel pinch ran for Dunn who drew the lead off walk in the inning. Hopper would pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot delivering a magnificent perfectly executed sacrifice bunt down the 3B line. That pretty much guaranteed the win except for the fact that the historically weakest hitter on the team PAUL BAKO was the guy who had to get it done.
Baker couldn’t elect to pinch hit for Bako because no other catchers were available; Valentin having pulled up lame yesterday. He took a couple of pitches and worked the count in his favor. Bako who already had 2 base hits on the day delivered a third, although really it was just a groundball to shortstop. With the infield drawn, however, and Freel’s great speed heading for home, Jimmy Rollins had no play and confused us by throwing it to first base sealing the Phillies fate. Holy Cow! Cubs… er, I mean Reds win! Reds win!