Bruce loses ball in lights in rough 8th inning
Right fielder relives similar moment from 2010 NLDS vs. Phils
PHILADELPHIA -- The Reds seemed on their way to a fourth straight win on Tuesday vs. the Phillies before right fielder Jay Bruce found himself reliving one of the most infamous moments of his career in a crucial situation.
Before a 5-4 loss to the Phillies, Cincinnati had a two-run lead when the game-swinging moment came with two outs in the eighth inning. Bruce lost Ryan Howard's line drive off Jumbo Diaz in the lights just before Maikel Franco hit a two-run home run that made it a 4-4 game.
"Damn lights, man. It's unbelievable to have to say again," Bruce said. "It felt like déjà vu. I hung in there as long as I could. It was a line drive in the lights."
In 2010, also at Citizens Bank Park, Bruce lost a Jimmy Rollins drive to right field in the lights during a three-run rally in the seventh inning that helped doom the Reds to a loss to Philadelphia in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
On Tuesday, the moment certainly came to mind for Bruce when Howard reached safely.
"It's obviously nothing to laugh about, but it's like, 'Are you kidding me?'" he said. "The home run after just really put the icing on the cake. It's like, 'God, man, anything but the homer there.' It's frustrating, man. You feel helpless, honestly. I don't know anything else I could do. I couldn't see it."
Bruce felt like the lights at the ballpark are different than other stadiums.
"But I think it's honestly chance. Just missed balls. I couldn't see it," he said.
Holding an eighth-inning lead has lately been the job of lefty Tony Cingrani, but Price opted for Diaz.
"With the exception of one hitter, they're all better left-on-left hitters than they are right-on-left," manager Bryan Price said. "There's times where you don't match up the bullpen based solely on left- or right-handed matchups. As we saw, it was two quick outs and then a line drive that was lost in the lights and a matchup with a right-on-right. The guy that hurt him [Franco] would have been and was the right-handed hitter. I wouldn't second-guess the decision to use Jumbo. It didn't work out the way we wanted it to, but I can't just solely match up. If you go by the statistics, Tony gets right-handers out a lot better than he gets left-handers out."