Phillies bats can't capitalize on Lee's solid outing
CINCINNATI -- Cliff Lee provided the opportunity, Ben Revere offered the highlights and Chase Utley tried to be the hero, but none of that mattered in the end Monday night against the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
The Phillies lost, 4-2, in a well-played game from both sides.
"It was a good game," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "It didn't end right, though."
"It was a super-fun game," Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo added. "The older I get, the more you can appreciate competing out there, regardless of the results sometimes."
Phillies left-hander Jeremy Horst has struggled early this season, but fell victim Monday to some bad luck in the eighth inning with the game tied, 2-2. Reds pinch-hitter Derrick Robinson reached on a swinging bunt single and Zack Cozart hit a bloop double to right-center field to put runners on second and third with one out. Horst intentionally walked Joey Votto to load the bases, and right-hander Mike Adams came in and surrendered a single to Brandon Phillips, plating a pair of runs and giving the Reds a two-run lead.
"A swinging bat is a dangerous bat," Horst said. "It was tough."
The runs ruined the momentum Utley provided when he knocked a two-out, pinch-hit home run in the eighth against Arroyo to tie the game. It was the fifth pinch-hit homer of Utley's career and the first since June 1, 2005.
The homer came so quickly that the Phillies had little time to warm up left-hander Antonio Bastardo or Adams, who has pitched a lot lately, which concerns Manuel. It also got Lee off the hook for the loss. He continues to pitch well, posting a 1.52 ERA through three starts despite a lack of run support in two of them. He allowed five hits, two runs, one walk and struck out four in seven innings on Monday. He surrendered a couple of runs in the seventh to give the Reds a 2-0 lead, walking Bruce during the inning. The walk is significant because Lee had not walked a batter since Sept. 17, snapping a streak of 169 batters in 44 2/3 innings.
The Phillies actually thought that Lee had struck Bruce out during the 10-pitch at-bat.
"He went around," Manuel said. "That was an out. He definitely went around. ... Wasn't even close. He swung. He swung at the ball. That was an out for us. That's kind of the way it goes."
Lee got some remarkable defensive help early.
In the second inning, center fielder Ben Revere made possibly the best catch by a Phillies outfielder since Aaron Rowand broke his face running into the center-field fence at Citizens Bank Park in 2006.
Revere also showed his support for the victims in Boston, writing "Pray for Boston" on tape and affixing it to his glove before the game.
"Just trying to reach out to the family out there," Revere said. "Just keep them in heart. It just hurts to see something like that happen. It's pain. It's painful. I can't imagine those families right now. Every day is precious. Every single day is precious. You should wake up every morning and thank God for letting you wake up that morning and get through the day, because you never know what happens. Each and every day I pray for safety."
The bottom of the second inning started when Bruce singled to left field. Todd Frazier followed and ripped a ball deep toward the right-center-field wall. Revere pursued it, but it looked to everybody in the ballpark, including Bruce, like the ball would sail over his head.
Revere has made his share of highlight-worthy catches in the past, and he only added to his reel Monday. He leapt, horizontal to the turf, outstretched his glove and made an unforgettable diving catch. Revere had enough presence of mind to pop up and fire the ball toward the infield. Second baseman Freddy Galvis threw to first to double-up Bruce, who was scrambling back after rounding second, for the double play.
Consider this a public service announcement to baserunners in the National League: Give Revere the benefit of the doubt. If he is close to a baseball, he has a shot to make a play.
It was the third double play Revere has turned in the past five games.
"The ball had really good backspin on it," Revere said. "It was up there, about to go over my head. In the back of mind I was saying, 'Just jump for it. Just go for it.' Luckily, I reached out long enough to snag it into my glove and pull that bad boy in and get the double play. It was real big. Just trying to put a smile on Cliff's face.
"I'd like to get that Gold Glove, so I'm going to bust my tail for that."
Revere also made nice catch at the wall to rob Ryan Hanigan of an extra-base hit to start the third. But Lee needed more than defense. He needed offense. And the Phillies have produced almost no offense since they scored seven runs in a victory over the Mets on Wednesday. They scored six runs in 28 innings over the weekend against the Marlins, and had just three hits through the first seven innings Monday.
Utley came to Lee's rescue in the eighth, but the bullpen couldn't hold the tie just moments later.