Phillips ends long Red-letter day in 13th
On bobblehead day, slugger's sac fly wins it; Choo reaches six times
CINCINNATI -- Opposing teams this season have certainly established by now that they won't let Joey Votto beat them by pitching to him.
That's fine by Brandon Phillips, who will gladly beat them instead. Following an intentional walk to Votto in the bottom of the 13th inning, it was Phillips' sacrifice fly that scored Shin-Soo Choo for a 3-2 walk-off win over the Marlins.
"It's a beautiful thing to get the game-winning sac fly on your bobblehead day," Phillips said. "It took long enough. I'm tired as [heck] right now. The game should not have taken that long, but I will take the win."
As the Reds went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded a season-high 17 men on base, their most since 2011, there seemed to be enough baseball played for two Phillips bobblehead days in the over four-hour game.
The futility in scoring seemed more astounding for Cincinnati considering that Choo reached safely six times in seven plate appearances with three hits and three walks. Votto reached five times with two RBIs that included a leadoff home run to right field off Wade LeBlanc in the third inning.
"The key is opportunities. We wanted to score long before that," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Leading off against Marlins reliever Steve Cishek, Choo began the Reds' 13th with a ground-rule double near the left-field line. Zack Cozart attempted a sacrifice, but fouled a ball off a finger on his hand gripping the bat and he exited. Cesar Izturis replaced Cozart and skied a fly to deep center field that advanced Choo to third base.
"That was a big get-em-over that Izturis had. It was huge," Baker said.
Votto was intentionally walked -- his Major League-leading 25th walk and fourth intentional -- to bring up Phillips.
"It's baseball. Joey is one of the best hitters in this game," Phillips said. "They do what they're supposed to do, and I have to do my job by just coming through."
Phillips sent a 1-2 pitch to center field for the sacrifice fly that ended it.
"Brandon did what he was supposed to do, keep the ball off the ground and get a ball up to hit to the outfield," Baker said.
Reliever Alfredo Simon, the Reds' fifth pitcher used in the game, worked a 1-2-3 top of the 13th inning for the victory. It was a gold-star day for the bullpen in general as Aroldis Chapman had a scoreless ninth, Sam LeCure followed with two scoreless innings and J.J. Hoover had a one-hit 12th before stranding a man on second base.
"We had a couple chances to win that game, and we went for it," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
But it was Reds starter Bronson Arroyo that set a great tone with his second-straight eight-inning outing. Arroyo gave up two runs and six hits with one walk and six strikeouts. One of the strikeouts -- to Justin Ruggiano in the second inning -- was No. 1,000 of his career with the Reds.
The crowd of 35,645 fans at Great American Ball Park gave Arroyo a standing ovation when the video board posted that he reached a club milestone. Arroyo briefly acknowledged the fans with an almost-embarrassed wave.
"Stuff like that going on in the middle of a ballgame, I feel like it's a jinx," Arroyo said. "If I would have tipped my hat, stood there and really appreciated the applause, I feel like I would have given up five runs in the inning."
That didn't happen, but Arroyo did give up two runs in the fifth inning before both clubs hunkered down for the long afternoon.
"He gave us everything we needed, because we didn't know we were going to go 13 innings," Baker said. "He saved my bullpen big time. If we had an early exit, I'd be deep, deep, deep in the bullpen right after we just got our bullpen back together."
Both teams' staffs worked overtime as the Marlins faced 58 batters and the Reds faced 48. It only took one guy to finally come through to bring it to a conclusion.
"Brandon got it done," said Cozart, who was 0-for-6. "Those are the kinds of games we need to win -- the one-run games and the ones where it seems like we're out there forever."