Phils walk off to take opener over Reds

Phils walk off to take opener over Reds

PHILADELPHIA -- Darin Ruf took advantage of a rare opportunity Tuesday night when he singled to right field to score Odubel Herrera from third base in a 5-4 walk-off victory over the Reds at Citizens Bank Park.

It snapped the Phillies' seven-game losing streak, which was the organization's longest since an eight-game streak July 20-28, 2013.

"We've been battling for a while now," said Ruf, who has just four plate appearances since May 24. "It just seemed like for the last week and a half or so, we were just missing that big hit."

Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto had not pitched since May 19 because of a sore elbow, but he pitched well in his return. He allowed five hits, two runs (one earned run) and struck out four in six innings. He left with a 4-2 lead, but Maikel Franco's two-run homer in the eighth against Jumbo Diaz tied the game.

"He was really, really good," Reds manager Bryan Price said of Cueto. "My guess is he's going to continue to feel good. I don't suspect there being any lingering issues after today's game."

Cueto holds Phils to two runs

Votto delivers runs: Joey Votto, who was 4-for-10 in the sweep of the Nationals, delivered two hits on Tuesday and the Reds' first two runs of the evening. In the top of the first, his RBI double down the right-field line scored Brandon Phillips for a 1-0 lead and gave him 11 straight games of reaching safely. Votto made it a 2-1 game with his RBI single to left field that also scored Phillips. More >

Votto's RBI single

Utley passes the Mendoza line: Phillies second baseman Chase Utley's batting average dropped to .099 on May 8, and it has been a slow climb since. But he went 3-for-4 with a home run Tuesday to raise his batting average to .207, his highest average of the season.

Utley's solo homer

"Obviously, the first month didn't go as planned," Utley said. "But you can't really change that. You've got to continue to move forward. The last month or so has been a little better. You just try to build on it." More >

Suicide squeeze works: Billy Hamilton has had his issues with bunting this season, but he dropped a perfect one in the top of the fourth. With one out and Zack Cozart running from third base, Hamilton's suicide squeeze toward Sean O'Sullivan easily scored the run and made it a 4-1 game.

Hamilton's suicide squeeze

Bruce's miscue leads to Franco's bomb: Reds right fielder Jay Bruce lost a ball in the lights with two outs in the eighth inning, which allowed Ryan Howard to cruise to second on a double. Franco followed with a two-run home run to left field to tie the game, 4-4.

Franco's clutch two-run homer

"Damn lights, man," said Bruce, who also lost a ball in the same lights during Game 2 of the National League Division Series in 2010. "It's unbelievable to have to say again. It felt like déjà vu. I hung in there as long as I could. It was a line drive in the lights." More >

Byrd fractures wrist: Reds left fielder Marlon Byrd was hit on the right arm by an O'Sullivan pitch leading off the top of the sixth inning. Byrd was out of the game in the seventh to get X-rays on his right wrist, which revealed a fracture. It is not known how long he might be out of action.

Byrd hit by pitch, exits game

"We're going to wait until we hear from the doctors and they read the X-rays and they make that decision," Price said. "I would not anticipate having him available, not in this series, and there's a possibility he could be DL'd here, too." More >

"You're lucky you're getting to pinch-hit for me." -- Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, according to Ruf. Papelbon stood in the on-deck circle in the bottom of the ninth inning before manager Ryne Sandberg sent Ruf to the plate instead

Papelbon has struck out 27 of the 83 batters (32.5 percent strikeout rate) he has faced this season. It is his highest strikeout rate since 2011, when he struck out 34.1 percent of the batters he faced while with Boston.

With two outs in the top of the second inning, Hamilton bunted to the left side and was called out at first base after appearing to beat Franco's throw. The Reds challenged umpire Dan Bellino's call, and it took only 42 seconds for it to be overturned upon replay review. Hamilton was credited with a single but soon ended the inning anyway when he was caught stealing.

Hamilton safe after review

Reds: Mike Leake will start the second game of the series for the Reds, with a 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch scheduled on Wednesday. Leake has struggled lately and is 0-3 with a 12.86 ERA his last three starts with 20 earned runs and 27 hits, including six homers, over 14 innings. His track record vs. the Phillies isn't strong either. He is 1-3 with a 7.41 ERA in six starts lifetime vs. Philadelphia.

Phillies: Left-hander Cole Hamels has had an incredible career against the Reds. He is 10-0 with a 1.36 ERA in 13 career starts against Cincinnati, which includes a shutout in Game 3 of the 2010 National League Division Series. Hamels has not allowed more than six hits or three runs in any start against the Reds.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.