Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz broke up Travis Wood’s bid for perfection with a leadoff double in the ninth inning and scored the winning run on Jimmy Rollins’ single in the bottom of the 11th, as the Phillies edged Cincinnati, 1-0, at Citizens Bank Park.
Making just his third major league appearance, Wood, a 23-year-old lefty, retired the first 24 batters he faced before Ruiz, who came off the disabled list earlier Saturday, doubled to the left-center field gap to open the ninth.
Wood then got pinch-hitter Wilson Valdez to pop out on a shoddy bunt attempt. A fly out by Raul Ibanez, pinch-hitting for Philadelphia starter Roy Halladay, the last pitcher to toss a perfect game, placed runners on the corners, but Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto reached into the camera well to snag Rollins’ foul ball to end the frame.
The rookie’s sterling effort overshadowed another masterful outing by Halladay. The right-hander scattered five hits, walked one and struck out nine through nine innings.
Brad Lidge succeeded Halladay and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the 10th. Jay Bruce started the inning with a double off the glove of a sliding Ben Francisco in left-center and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Miguel Cairo. Drew Stubbs walked and pilfered second. Lidge then fanned Ryan Hanigan and intentionally walked pinch-hitter Laynce Nix to load the bags for Brandon Phillips. Lidge, though, emerged unscathed by getting the Cincinnati second baseman to fly out to center field.
Ruiz started the winning rally when he doubled off Bill Bray (0-1) with one out in the 11th. Ruiz had been sidelined since he suffered a concussion as the result of being struck by the barrel of Jason Kubel’s bat in a game against Minnesota on June 18.
Valdez was then intentionally walked and, one out later, Logan Ondrusek yielded the game-ending hit to Rollins, a line drive to right field.
Jose Contreras (4-3) pitched a perfect top half of the 11th to earn the win.
The first three games of this four-game set have required more than nine innings to reach a conclusion, with the Phillies taking each contest in dramatic fashion. Brian Schneider blasted a solo home run in the 12th on Thursday and Ryan Howard’s two-run shot in the 10th capped an incredible comeback on Friday that saw Philadelphia scored six times in the ninth to erase a 7-1 deficit.
It’s the first time in club history the Phillies have recorded three straight walk-off wins in extra innings.
Despite the loss, Cincinnati still holds a two-game edge on St. Louis for the top spot in the National League Central.
The Reds squandered a chance to get on the board in the eighth. Cairo led off the inning with a double and Stubbs bunted him over to third. But Halladay whiffed both Hanigan and Wood to keep the game scoreless.
Tom Browning tossed the only perfect game in Cincinnati history on September 16, 1988…Wood recorded eight strikeouts and did not walk a batter in nine innings…The Phillies are 16-8 against the NL Central this season…Orlando Cabrera had two hits for Cincinnati. He entered the game on an 0-for-15 slump…Reds third baseman Scott Rolen missed his second straight game with a sore lower back…The Phillies designated catcher Dane Sardinha for assignment to make room for Ruiz…Wood was trying to become the first rookie to throw a perfect game since Charlie Robertson in 1922 for the Chicago White Sox.