PHILADELPHIA -- It wasn't just one clutch hit in a May regular-season game that Jay Bruce delivered for the Reds. It was a stress release and anxiety remover for a team growing a little desperate.
Bruce's bases-loaded, three-run double with two outs in the top of the ninth gave the Reds a 6-3 victory over the Phillies and snapped a season-high six-game losing streak.
"Finally tonight, hopefully, we can get some sleep," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I don't think anybody's slept over these last six games. All of us take it hard when you don't win."
It was a 3-3 game entering the ninth when Drew Stubbs stunningly bunted for a single and went to second base on Ryan Madson's throwing error in the dirt. It was Stubbs' first bunt single of the season.
"He did it on his own, it wasn't a play," Baker said. "The happiest man on the whole ballclub was probably [coach Billy] Hatcher, because he's been working with him on that for two years and urging him to try it."
With two outs, Joey Votto was intentionally walked. Scott Rolen bounced an infield single to a diving Placido Polanco at third base to load the bases for Bruce.
Even though he's been the team's hottest hitter during the losing streak, the odds seemed not in Bruce's favor entering his ninth-inning at-bat. He was already 0-for-4 on the night with three strikeouts, including a strikeout with one out and runners on second and third in the fifth inning.
Bruce also came in 1-for-19 with runners in scoring position and two out. Meanwhile, Madson allowed one run in 19 innings all season and entered with 13 straight scoreless appearances.
After a first-pitch changeup, Madson delivered back-to-back fastballs. Bruce connected on the 1-1 fastball and drove a ball that one-hopped off the right-center-field wall.
"It started in and tailed back middle-in. It was the right pitch. I just didn't make it," Madson said.
Coming through in the clutch meant a lot to Bruce, who is batting .522 (12-for-23) with four homers and nine RBIs over the last six games.
"It's huge," Bruce said. "The big thing that I'm going to learn from that is staying focused. Just because you don't do it the first time, you may get a chance and you have to be prepared and ready the second time. You can't let things linger.
"I am learning a lot about driving in runs and really getting them when they're there. I'm not good yet, but I'm getting better at that aspect of it. I have a long way to go but ... tonight it worked out, and I plan on doing it a lot more."
After back-to-back short outings from the rotation, Johnny Cueto gave the Reds a much-needed quality start. He pitched six innings and allowed three runs and seven hits with two walks and one strikeout. His club was down 3-1 after four innings but recovered.
An eight-batter top of the fifth saw the Reds tie the game but miss a chance to take the lead. Following a Cueto walk and a Stubbs double, Brandon Phillips hit a two-run single to right field and went to second on an error by Domonic Brown, who bobbled the ball. Bruce struck out with runners on second and third and one out. Ramon Hernandez was intentionally walked by Phillies starter Vance Worley to load the bases, but Chris Heisey popped out to first base to end the threat.
"We did miss some early and were hoping those wouldn't come back to haunt you," Baker said.
In the battle of the bullpens, Bill Bray had 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Logan Ondrusek inherited a runner on first base with two out in the eighth from Bray, but walked his first batter on four pitches before escaping.
"It was big today that we came back and won this game today," said closer Francisco Cordero, who got his ninth save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. "It gave us a new life because we ended a losing streak and we can start a winning streak now."
Had the Reds not won Tuesday, their prospects of leaving town with a win would've become more daunting. Roy Halladay, who no-hit Cincinnati in the playoffs, is pitching against them on Wednesday. Star lefty Cliff Lee is slated for Thursday.
Including two postseason games last season, the Reds had a nine-game losing streak at Citizens Bank Park.
"It sure relieves a lot of pressure," Baker said. "We've got some more tomorrow with Doc Halladay. But we'll enjoy this one tonight. It's the first game we've won in a week and on the road trip. And the first one we've won here in two years. It was a rewarding night for us."