Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the Cincinnati Reds held on for a 4-3 win over the Phillies in the rubber match of three-game series at Great American Ball Park.
Joey Votto hit a solo homer and Orlando Cabrera contributed a run-scoring single for the Reds, who have won seven of their last nine.
Arthur Rhodes (3-2) earned the win for throwing a perfect eighth inning in relief of starter Aaron Harang, who allowed eight hits and three runs with one walk and struck out five in 6 1/3 innings. Francisco Cordero locked the game down with a scoreless ninth to record his 21st save of the season.
Dane Sardinha hit a three-run homer for Philadelphia, which has dropped three of five. Roy Halladay (9-7) suffered the loss despite tossing his sixth complete game of the season. The right-hander was charged with four runs on 13 hits with 10 strikeouts and did not issue a walk over eight innings.
Down 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Jonny Gomes started the inning with a base hit. Bruce then crushed a first-pitch cutter over the right field wall for a 4-3 Reds lead.
“It’s always a delight and surprising, but it’s not really like a true shock,” Bruce said about the comeback win. “We’ve been there before and we’ve been doing it since day one. We don’t think we are ever out of it because of the hitters and the players we have on the team.”
Cordero took over in the top of the ninth and allowed a one-out single to pinch-hitter Ross Gload, then struck out pinch-hitter Ben Francisco, but Gload moved into scoring position with a steal of second. Shane Victorino bounced out to second to end the game.
“I’m going to stay aggressive. That’s my approach. I’m not going to beat myself,” Halladay said. “Today, I beat myself with two pitches in the eighth. I really didn’t think that they were hitting the ball all that hard to that point.”
Each side threatened in the early innings, but were kept off the board until Sardinha’s three-run homer in the fourth. Jayson Werth singled with one away and Wilson Valdez’s base hit two batters later set the stage for Sardinha, who jumped on a first-pitch hanging slider and belted it into the left field seats.
Cincinnati had runners on the corners with one out in the home half, but Halladay fanned Drew Stubbs and retired Ramon Hernandez on a pop up to second.
Votto’s leadoff homer to right in the sixth made it a 3-1 game, and the Reds cut the deficit to one in the seventh. With runners on second and third with one out, Cabrera chased in a run with an RBI single to center and left runners on the corners. Halladay then struck out Votto looking and Scott Rolen flied out to end the inning.
The Phillies took five of seven from the Reds last season and despite the loss, have won 10 of the last 15 meetings overall…Rhodes got a measure of revenge after yielding three runs in the 10th inning of Tuesday’s 9-6 loss… Votto has reached base safely in 38 straight games, the longest streak in the majors this season and longest by a Red since Pete Rose’s 48-game streak in 1978…Victorino and Valdez each finished with two hits…Hernandez went 3- for-4 with a run scored for Cincinnati.