Worth the wait: Reds walk off in ninth inning
Bruce's RBI single comes nine minutes after suspended game resumes
CINCINNATI -- The waiting proved to be the hardest part.
Resuming Tuesday's scoreless game that was suspended by rain after 8 1/2 innings, the Reds wasted little time Wednesday in claiming a 1-0 win over the Phillies on Jay Bruce's bases-loaded single to right field in the bottom of the ninth at Great American Ball Park.
"I wished it was quicker," Bruce said of the outcome. "It was nice to get that one out of the way and set the tone for the second game."
On Tuesday, rain fell before the bottom of the ninth inning and forced umpires to suspend the game after waiting for 44 minutes. Once play resumed 18 hours and 43 minutes later at 5:31 p.m. ET, it took all of nine minutes to wrap it up.
"Our guys came out ready," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "They wanted to win it right away. We didn't have to get deep in our bullpen."
Zack Cozart began the bottom of the ninth by hitting a Phillippe Aumont full-count pitch for a lined single to left field. Joey Votto followed by drawing a walk, putting Aumont into immediate danger.
It wasn't a start for Aumont, but it kind of felt like one as he took the mound. He didn't adjust to the circumstances very easily.
"Obviously, there is no intensity," Aumont said. "As a pitcher, you have to find a way to fire yourself up. I was feeling good in the bullpen. It was good. The walk killed me. That's more frustrating than anything else."
Going from an 0-2 count to 3-2, Brandon Phillips skied a tailing fly ball that went off of the glove of center fielder Ben Revere for an error that loaded the bases.
"That's a tough time of the day," Baker said. "A lot of guys have missed balls. This guy doesn't miss many."
Bruce ended it by pulling a first-pitch fastball for a lined single to right field that gave Cincinnati wins in the first two games of the series.
"You can't discount the at-bats the guys before me took," Bruce said. "We've had a lot of them this year. It's going to be the trend of our team. It usually is. It's exciting."
Not only was the conclusion delayed by rain, so was the start of the game, as an 80-minute delay pushed back Tuesday's first pitch. In between downpours, both teams' pitchers reigned all night while putting zeros on the scoreboard. Neither team had a runner reach third base.
"Both sides were dealing," Baker said Tuesday night.
Resembling the first six innings of Monday's clash between Bronson Arroyo and Cliff Lee, Reds starter Homer Bailey and Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick were almost equally sensational.
Showing dominance reminiscent of the no-hitter he threw at Pittsburgh late last season, Bailey allowed all of two Phillies singles -- one of which was an infield hit -- over his eight innings. There were no walks, and he tied a career high with 10 strikeouts.
"We felt pretty good today," Bailey said. "This weather was kind of muggy, you could sweat a lot. [Catcher Ryan] Hanigan did a great job back there. We were on the same page all night."
Over his final six innings, Bailey faced the minimum number of batters. His final hit allowed was Chase Utley's one-out single to right field in the fourth. But Utley was caught stealing second base, and moments later, Ryan Howard looked at a 97-mph fastball on the inner half of the plate for strike three to end the inning. It was the first of the final 13 Phillies in a row that Bailey retired.
In three starts this season, Bailey has allowed runs in only two of his 19 innings pitched. He was a 15-0 winner with six innings vs. the Nationals in his 2013 debut. In his previous start at St. Louis, he gave up seven runs over the fifth and sixth innings -- including not retiring a batter in the sixth.
In his last two starts, Bailey has gotten zero runs of support from the lineup. Baker didn't view Bailey's hard luck as wasted effort.
"I don't think in those terms," Baker said. "We can build off of that. And we didn't waste it. Homer saved my bullpen. It was great for his confidence -- and ours, too -- to see him pitch so well. We would have wasted it if he had lost it."
On the other side, Kendrick also gave up two hits over his seven innings with two walks and four strikeouts. Cozart hit a one-out single to left field in the first inning, and Hanigan lined a one-out single to left field in the fifth. Bailey moved Hanigan to second base with a sacrifice, but Shin-Soo Choo grounded out to end the inning.
"A lot of respect to Kyle Kendrick. He threw the hell out of the ball," Bailey said. "Sometimes, that's just the way it goes, especially with a 0-0 game. You have to go out there and stay sharp. It makes it a little easier to stay focused."
Bailey threw 89 pitches, but was lifted for pinch-hitter Chris Heisey as the Reds tried to get something going offensively in the bottom of the eighth.
"I really hated to take Homer out, but we had to try and get some runs, especially before the rains came," Baker said. "They told us it was coming."
Aroldis Chapman took over and dealt a perfect top of the ninth inning with two strikeouts before being credited with the win. More showers fell and prompted the night's second delay -- one that would last overnight. Had the game gone to extras, Sam LeCure was warming in the bullpen and would have pitched the top of the 10th inning.
Fortunately for the Reds, it never came to that and quickly ended one of the stranger ninth innings they have ever played -- and gave them time to spare before Wednesday's regularly scheduled series finale.
"You try to treat it as normal as possible. The reality is that it's the ninth inning and 5:30," Bruce said. "You don't play eight before, so it's not a doubleheader. You use that as BP. We're usually getting done with BP right now. We'll get ready for the next game at 7:10."