By Mark Sheldon and Todd Zolecki
MLB.com |@m_sheldon |
CINCINNATI -- After pitchers Brandon Finnegan and Jerad Eickhoff exchanged zeros for 6 1/2 innings, Joey Votto's leadoff home run in the bottom of the seventh snapped the scoreless deadlock and helped give the Reds a 2-0 victory over the Phillies on Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park.
Adam Duvall followed Votto with a double to left field, and Zack Cozart's two-out RBI single scored a second insurance run against Eickhoff.
"Joey got everyone excited with the homer, and they had been pounding him and throwing the ball close to him. When they came in with the breaking ball on the second pitch, Joey got it," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "They're all important, but that second run certainly made a huge difference for us."
The two-run inning made a winner out of Finnegan, who endured a rocky top of the first following a 50-minute rain delay with a walk and two-out single. But he retired his final 19 batters in a row, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out nine over seven frames on 88 pitches. More >
Eickhoff finished with two earned runs on five hits, one walk and six strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings.
"He pitched his butt off and gave us every chance to win," Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp said. "It [stinks] that it worked out the way it did." More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Hang time for Votto: When Votto lifted Eickhoff's 1-0 hanging curveball into the right-center-field seats to snap the tie, it marked his first home run of the season. The ball left the bat at 104 mph, with a height of 146 feet, per Statcast™. It also had a hang time of 7.01 seconds. There has been only one homer in the Statcast™ Era with a longer hang time, a Freddie Freeman blast that was 7.02 seconds on July 26, 2016 (for Atlanta).
"I felt like I've swung the bat well the first two games. That one was the one I connected on," said Votto, who now has 222 career home runs to move into a tie with Jason Bay for fourth all time among Major Leaguers born in Canada.
Bullpen silences Phillies' bats, too: The Phillies showed some life, when Aaron Altherr and Cameron Rupp reached base on back-to-back infield singles to start the eighth. But Michael Lorenzen struck out Freddy Galvis and pinch-hitter Michael Saunders swinging before getting Cesar Hernandez, who is hitless in eight at-bats since blasting a leadoff homer in the first inning on Opening Day, to ground out to second base.
"I thought about it, but with the way we were swinging the bats, I wanted to give everyone an opportunity to do something," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said, when asked if he thought about having Galvis bunt. "To play to tie here with the way we swung tonight, I just thought that maybe Freddy could hit a double or something like that."
"It's always nice to win that first one of the season. Now, you want to start collecting more." -- Price
"I think when I threw it, looking at the video, I got him, I almost fooled him, but he was able to keep his hands back. He's a big strong guy. It was a slow enough pitch for him to kind of double clutch and get the barrel to it." -- Eickhoff, on Votto's homer.
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Since Eickhoff made his big league debut on Aug. 21, 2015, the Phillies have scored one or no runs for him in 18 starts. That is tied with Edinson Volquez and second only to Michael Pineda, who has 20 of those starts in that span.
In the ninth, Odubel Herrera attempted to steal second base with two outs and was called out by umpire Mark Ripperger in what appeared to be the end of the game. However, the Phillies immediately challenged -- even as celebratory fireworks went off -- and the call was overturned upon review. Reliever Raisel Iglesias struck out Tommy Joseph two pitches later for the save.
Of course, why was Herrera running in that situation in the first place?
"The first baseman was back," Herrera said. "I thought I had a chance to steal the base, and I got it."
Added Mackanin: "He made it. That's all I'm going to say. I'll talk to him."
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies: Right-hander Clay Buchholz makes his Phillies debut at 12:35 p.m. ET Thursday in the series finale against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Philadelphia acquired Buchholz in a December trade with the Red Sox. Phillies manager Mackanin said two Phillies are expected to make their first big league starts: catcher Andrew Knapp and first baseman Brock Stassi.
Reds: Right-hander Rookie Davis will make his Major League debut in the Thursday game. Davis, 24, posted a 4.02 ERA in five Cactus League games to earn a rotation spot. He was one of four players acquired from the Yankees in the December 2015 trade for Aroldis Chapman.