NLDS Game 2: Phillies Take Advantage Of Sloppy Reds, Rally To 7-4 Win

The Reds built up an impressive lead, but then handed over a winnable game to the Phillies with sloppy pitching and sloppier defense. Just for fun, there was also another umpire controversy, and the series is now 2-0 Philadelphia. Check out more at The Good Phight and Red Reporter.

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Phillies Rally To Defeat Aroldis Chapman, Reds On Sloppy Play; Take 2-0 Series Lead

You could argue that there's no shame in getting no-hit by Roy Halladay. Halladay's an excellent pitcher, and he was at the very tippy top of his game.

There's shame in this one, though, as the Reds built up an early 4-0 lead and then proceeded to hand the game away to the Phillies with bad pitches and mistakes in the field.

The game got off to a promising start for Cincinnati, when Brandon Phillips immediately erased any thoughts about a no-hitter or a shutout by taking Roy Oswalt deep to left field to lead things off. Two Chase Utley throwing errors allowed the Reds to add a run in the second, and they would score once more in both the fourth and the fifth thanks to a Jay Bruce solo homer and a sac fly by Joey Votto.

Oswalt's day would end after five innings, allowing four runs while striking out five on 76 pitches.

It was in the bottom of the fifth that things started to come apart for the Reds. Consecutive two-out errors by Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen allowed the Phillies to load the bases, and Chase Utley cashed in with a two-run single into right.

In the sixth, the Phillies would add one more when Arthur Rhodes and Logan Ondrusek - relieving the effective Bronson Arroyo - hit consecutive batters, and Ondrusek then walked Shane Victorino with the bases loaded.

And it was in the seventh that the Phillies stormed ahead, thanks to a critical defensive miscue and just another playoff umpiring controversy. Dusty Baker brought Aroldis Chapman out of the bullpen to start the inning. After getting ahead of Chase Utley 0-2, Chapman missed with a fastball up and in that home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman said nicked the batter. Replays would show otherwise.

Chapman struck out Ryan Howard swinging on three pitches, and then got Jayson Werth to hit a grounder to Rolen at third. Rolen, though, bobbled the ball slightly, and his throw to second wasn't in time to get the lead runner. Replays would show that the ball barely beat Utley to the bag, but Utley was ruled safe.

Then, with two on and one out, Jimmy Rollins lined a first-pitch 100 mile per hour fastball into right field that Jay Bruce lost in the lights, allowing the ball to get by him and letting the tying and go-ahead runs come around to score. Replays would show that Utley appeared to miss third base with his foot, but nothing was done about it.

Ahead 5-4, the Phillies would add an insurance run two batters later when Carlos Ruiz drove Rollins home with a grounder to short. The Phillies would then add another insurance tally in the eighth on a Jayson Werth single to left.

Brad Lidge closed the game out in the ninth and put the finishing touches on a stellar effort by the Phillies bullpen. After Oswalt struggled through five mediocre innings, Lidge, Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras, J.C. Ramirez, and Chad Durbin combined to throw four shutout frames, with two walks, two strikeouts, and a hit.

The Phillies and Reds will now head to Cincinnati for Game 3, to be played Sunday evening. The Phillies will hand the ball to Cole Hamels as they look to close the series out, while the Reds will hope that Johnny Cueto can keep them alive. Worth noting that the Reds will likely be without shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who had to leave Friday's game after aggravating an oblique injury that troubled him throughout the season's second half.


Phillies Vs. Reds, NLDS Game 2: Jayson Werth Drives Home Insurance Run

And just to make it all worse for the Reds, the Phillies decided to go ahead and actually earn themselves a run in the bottom of the eighth. Already up 6-4, the Phillies got a single from Chase Utley, a stolen base, and then a single through the hole by Jayson Werth to drive him home. No further damage was done, but the insurance run gave the Phillies and closer Brad Lidge a three-run lead heading into the ninth, and the Reds' odds are long.


Phillies Vs. Reds, NLDS Game 2: Jay Bruce Error Key As Phillies Rally Against Aroldis Chapman

The Phillies could trace their first three runs back to a couple defensive miscues on the Reds' part and a bases-loaded walk. That, however, wasn't anything. Dusty Baker summoned Aroldis Chapman from the bullpen to protect a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh, and it was with his third pitch that everything started to come apart.

First, Chapman missed up and in with an 0-2 pitch and appeared to nick Chase Utley, who took first base*.

Following an easy strikeout of Ryan Howard, Chapman then got Jayson Werth to hit a grounder to Scott Rolen, but Rolen couldn't throw to second in time to get the lead runner*, and everybody was safe.

The next batter - Jimmy Rollins - drilled a 100 mile per hour fastball into right field. It appeared to be a catchable fly ball, but Jay Bruce lost it in the lights or the towel-waving crowd, and it rolled away behind him. The miscue allowed Utley to score from second* and Werth to score from first, putting the Phillies on top 5-4.

Raul Ibanez followed with a line drive single into right to put men on the corners, and a Carlos Ruiz groundball scored the Phillies' sixth run. Chapman did not finish the inning.

The frame was an absolute nightmare for the Reds, who have essentially handed the Phillies all six of their runs. They will now have to come back against Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge if they intend on returning home in anything other than a desperate, devastated position.


* - it's absolutely vital to note that, on replay, Chase Utley came away looking incredibly lucky. It seemed like the HBP missed him, it seemed like Rolen's throw to second beat him, and then on the Bruce miscue Utley appeared not to touch third base. Another game, another umpire controversy.


Phillies Vs. Reds, NLDS Game 2: Shane Victorino Bases-Loaded Walk Trims Lead To One

Sweating time for Reds fans. J.C. Romero and Chad Durbin worked a scoreless top of the sixth, with Durbin ending the frame by picking Drew Stubbs off first base. That brought us to the bottom half, where the Phillies were able to plate another run without having to work very hard. Jayson Werth led off with a walk. Jimmy Rollins then popped out - the last batter of Bronson Arroyo's day - and reliever Arthur Rhodes struck out Ryan Howard, but then Rhodes hit Carlos Ruiz in the knee.

Dusty Baker came out and replaced Rhodes with Logan Ondrusek, but Ondrusek promptly clipped pinch-hitter Ben Francisco in the helmet to load the bases. To make matters worse, he subsequently walked Shane Victorino on five pitches to force in a run.

Placido Polanco would ground out to end the inning, but now it's a 4-3 ballgame. The good news for the Reds: Aroldis Chapman remains available in the bullpen. One could make a convincing argument that he should've been brought in in the sixth, but he's still out there and the Reds are still in front, which is a big advantage.

Arroyo's game:

5.1 innings
4 hits
3 runs (1 earned)
3 walks
2 strikeouts
103 pitches

Jose Contreras is pitching the seventh for the Phillies, and Chapman is beginning to get warm in the Cincinnati bullpen.


Phillies Vs. Reds, NLDS Game 2: Chase Utley Delivers After Reds Infield Opens Door

A pair of Chase Utley throwing errors directly led to the Reds' second run of the game back in the second inning. It's only fitting, then, that Utley should be able to make up for his miscues after the Reds made some errors of their own. In the bottom of the fifth, Raul Ibanez notched a base hit, and three batters later, Shane Victorino reached when Brandon Phillips booted a ground ball. Two pitches after that, Scott Rolen couldn't handle a bounce on a Placido Polanco grounder, and with the bases loaded, Chase Utley ripped a two-run single into right to cut Cincinnati's lead in half.

Bronson Arroyo struck out Ryan Howard to end the inning, but the damage had been done, and now the Reds are feeling a little less comfortable as the crowd feels a little more confident.

J.C. Romero is on to pitch the sixth for the Phillies in relief of Roy Oswalt, who allowed four runs while striking out five in five innings. He threw 76 pitches.


Phillies Vs. Reds, NLDS Game 2: Joey Votto Drives In Fourth Run With Sac Fly

One by one, the Reds continue to add to their lead. They scored in the first, the second, the fourth, and now the fifth, after Brandon Phillips doubled to lead off, advanced to third on a bunt*, and scored on a Joey Votto sac fly to the left-center warning track. Roy Oswalt has managed five strikeouts through five innings, but he's also given up too much solid contact, and has failed in his task to keep his team close.

The Phillies did nearly stage a rally in the bottom of the fourth, prior to Phillips' run, but Bronson Arroyo got Jimmy Rollins to ground into a double play to end a moderate threat.

It's 4-0 Cincinnati at the halfway mark.

* - the bunt was by Paul Janish, who replaced an injured Orlando Cabrera. Cabrera appeared to aggravate a pre-existing oblique injury, and one wonders if he'll be able to return in the series.


Phillies Vs. Reds, NLDS Game 2: Jay Bruce Strikes For Another Solo Homer

The Reds aren't doing it by the bushel, but slowly and surely, they're trying to pull away in Game 2. Bronson Arroyo survived some line drives in the third, and in the top of the fourth, Jay Bruce led off by yanking an inside breaking ball deep into the right field seats. The solo homer was Cincinnati's second of the day and made it a 3-0 ballgame, and with Arroyo already having thrown three shutout innings and Aroldis Chapman in the bullpen, the Reds have to be feeling pretty confident. A team that two days ago looked down and out now has plenty of life.


Phillies Vs. Reds, NLDS Game 2: Chase Utley Errors Puts Reds Up Two

And now not only do the Reds have an early lead - they have a little bit of breathing room, too. After Bronson Arroyo made quick work of the Phillies in the bottom of the first, the Reds took advantage of some sloppiness in the second to double the gap. Laynce Nix led off with a grounder to Chase Utley that Utley threw high to first, pulling Ryan Howard off the bag. Two batters later, Drew Stubbs drew a walk, and though Ryan Hanigan hit a routine 6-4-3 grounder to short, Utley made another bad throw, sailing wide of Howard and allowing Nix to score.

The Reds earned their first run. The Phillies gave them their second, and Roy Oswalt's at 42 pitches through two.


Phillies Vs. Reds, NLDS Game 2: Brandon Phillips Leadoff Home Run Puts Reds On Top

The Reds literally ended any no-hit and shutout bid as quickly as possible. Facing Roy Oswalt, Brandon Phillips worked himself into a 2-1 count, got a slider over the plate, and tucked it inside the left field foul pole for a leadoff home run.

Oswalt retired the next three hitters in order to end the inning, but just that fast, it's 1-0 Reds going into the bottom of the first, and you have to think that an enormous weight has been lifted from the Reds' collective shoulder. Now it's on Bronson Arroyo to mix things up and remain effective so he doesn't give the lead away.

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