CINCINNATI -- In a way, Tuesday night's game symbolically summed up the Phillies' season.
There were undoubtedly some bright spots, sprinkled throughout a dollop of frustration and topped with a heaping portion of rotten luck.
While Jimmy Rollins notched career hit No. 2,000 and Kyle Kendrick made it five straight starts of two earned runs or fewer, a key call from the umpires coupled with a four-hit showing from the Phils' bats turned into a tough 2-1 loss to the Reds on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.
"That's kind of the way everything happens for us isn't it? I'm not complaining, but that's kind of how it goes," said manager Charlie Manuel, managing a chuckle. "What can you do about it? You can't do nothing about it."
Philadelphia had won its past six games in Cincinnati, but chalked up just one run to split the series at one game apiece before Wednesday afternoon's rubber game.
Both teams were scoreless through three before the Phillies scratched out their lone run in the fourth. After a one-out double from Chase Utley, Ryan Howard was hit by a Mat Latos pitch, and John Mayberry Jr. drew a walk on a full count to load the bases. One batter later, Domonic Brown watched four straight balls go by as Latos walked in the first run of the game.
The one-out threat was thwarted by a call on the next at-bat that ended in a double play.
Nate Schierholtz lined a 2-2 pitch to shallow center in front of charging center fielder Drew Stubbs. Stubbs fielded the ball right as it was bouncing, but came up firing to second. The Phillies' baserunners froze, unsure if the ball bounced or was caught.
"It was shallow enough to where you have to go halfway and just kind of read it. Then the ball just kind of died at the last second," said Howard, who was on third. "It was really hard to see. I was trying to look at an umpire to see what happened. It looked like it was really either way. It all happened so fast."
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips touched second and threw to catcher Ryan Hanigan, who also touched home plate. If Stubbs had not caught the ball, the play at home would not have been a forceout, since Phillips previously touched second.
But the umpires ruled that Stubbs caught the ball in the air and doubled off Mayberry at second to end the inning.
"Basically our runners got all messed up," Manuel said. "They got confused. They didn't know where to go. We couldn't tell if it was a catch or not. [Howard or Mayberry] didn't see the safe call quickly, but at the same time, you've still got to get back to the bag once you see it called."
The confusion wasn't limited to the Phils' dugout.
"I couldn't tell from where I was," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "He was backhanding it like that, it's a tough call for the umpire. Either way, we had the runner at second."
Upon further slow motion replay, the ball clearly took a small bounce before Stubbs fielded it, but the Phillies would have to settle for just one run in the frame.
"That's a bad break because we would have had a hit turned into a run for sure and the bases loaded," Manuel said.
The miscue would prove costly two innings later. Kendrick had given up just four hits to the first 21 batters he faced, but with two away in the sixth, surrendered a single to Ryan Ludwick.
Jay Bruce, who had recorded a single off Kendrick in the fourth, then lined a 2-1 changeup into right field for a two-run home run to end the shutout and give Cincinnati the 2-1 lead.
"Bruce was swinging at changeups all night," Kendrick said. "He's a good hitter, he could have been sitting soft, I don't know. He put a good swing on it and got it out. He's been swinging it well, you've got to give credit to him."
Kendrick certainly isn't alone, as Bruce has homered in three consecutive games and four of his past five.
Kendrick fanned Todd Frazier to end the sixth, but it would also be the end of his night. The 28-year-old righty has allowed just six total earned runs in his past five starts and is 6-2 since the All-Star break, but took his 10th loss of the season Tuesday.
"It's just frustrating because if you get Bruce out, you can go out for the seventh," Kendrick said. "You've got righties coming up and my pitch count was low. It's a tough one, but we'll get after it tomorrow."
Mark Clements is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.