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PHI@CIN: Heisey belts a pinch-hit three-run homer

CINCINNATI -- If the Reds didn't already know the difference between where they are and where they hoped to have been this season, the Phillies certainly hammered that point home this week.

The Phillies completed a four-game sweep on Thursday by sending the Reds to a 6-4 loss. It was a game where the home team was behind early and tried to catch up. Cincinnati finished the season series against the Phillies with a 1-7 record. It was the first time since 1916 the Phillies had swept a four-game series in Cincinnati.

Before Monday, the Reds had won four in a row and six of seven, but the wheels came completely off against a first-place Phillies club bound for the postseason. Philadelphia outscored Cincinnati, 21-6, in a series that included back-to-back shutouts.

"This series kind of leaves a bitter taste in our mouth, but we have to go have a good road trip and get right back up to .500 and hopefully beyond," said Chris Heisey, whose pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh closed the gap after it was 6-1.

The third-place Reds (67-70) begin a 10-day, nine-game road trip on Friday through second-place St. Louis, Chicago and Colorado.

Reds starter Mike Leake pitched six innings in the finale against the Phillies and gave up four runs on seven hits, with one walk and three strikeouts. Philadelphia rallied against Leake in the top of the second inning to take a 3-0 lead.

Hunter Pence started the second with a double to left field and scored two batters later on Brian Schneider's single. Following an infield hit, the crusher came with the bases loaded when Phillies pitcher Vance Worley rolled a single through the middle. Drew Stubbs threw out Schneider trying to score, but Shane Victorino picked up the next run with a single to left field.

"The second inning, I was falling behind and not attacking them like I should and like I did after that," Leake said.

Leake retired 10 of 11 following Victorino's hit, including eight in a row, until the sixth when Ryan Howard pummeled a 1-0 pitch for a homer to left-center field.

"He threw the ball pretty good," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "The thing about it was there were some bloops in there, some infield singles that really nicked him up and nicked us up. That was the story of the ballgame."

There is question about how many more starts Leake might get this season. After throwing 138 2/3 innings in his rookie season last year, he has 158 innings pitched this year between Triple-A and the Majors. The club would like to protect the 23-year-old's arm and not jump his innings total too dramatically. There is no plan in place yet, however.

"We're not sure," Baker said.

Leake, who got stronger after having learned and adjusted to the rigors of pro baseball last season, isn't ready to stop pitching.

"I hope I finish the year. I still feel good," said Leake, who is 11-9 with a 4.12 ERA in 27 games, including 24 starts. "I hope they don't shut me down. Nothing has been discussed with me yet. I don't know if they're talking or what."

The Reds' scoreless streak finally ended at 21 innings after Brandon Phillips led off the third inning with a double. Phillips scored from third base on Joey Votto's sacrifice fly to center field. But Worley was tough over his first six innings, with six of his seven strikeouts coming on called third strikes.

"I thought I got myself into trouble a couple times, as usual, but found a way to get out," said Worley, who is on an eight-game win streak. "As the game went on, my stuff got better."

In his season debut after being on the disabled list all season to recover from shoulder surgery, Jared Burton gave up Michael Martinez's a two-run homer in the seventh to make it 6-1 game.

Back from the DL himself for the first time in nearly a month, Heisey came to the plate in the seventh, and he sent a 0-1 Worley pitch the opposite way for a three-run homer to right field. The Phillies' bullpen duo of Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson shut down any thoughts of completing a comeback.

When facing a team like the Phillies, the Reds already knew their margin for error was tiny.

"If you don't capitalize on opportunities, which are rare, you don't score," Baker said. "If they score early or quite a few runs, it's hard to [get] bunch a lot of hits against them. The fact is, they don't walk many guys to put you in position to rally if you fall behind. That's their key." Comments