Reds outlast rain, then Phillies
Six-run rally in seventh inning erases shaky start by Harang
PHILADELPHIA -- It figures. A guy nicknamed "Stormy" knows exactly how to ride out a rain delay.Entrusted with a one-run lead in the eighth, closer David Weathers was asked to get the final six outs in what became a 9-6 Reds victory over the Phillies. There are long saves and then there was Wednesday's save. Thundershowers caused a 42-minute delay with two outs in the eighth. Weathers persevered for his 15th save in 17 chances, but also his eighth save of more than three outs this season. "That speaks for itself," Reds manager Jerry Narron praised. "That's old school closing right there. That's Goose Gossage and Rollie Fingers type saves. What David Weathers has done in the first half is outstanding. It's been next to impossible to have said somebody would have eight saves of more than three outs in this day and age the way the game is played. I really hope he gets a lot of consideration for the All-Star Game. He's very deserving." Weathers notched two quick outs in the eighth before Greg Dobbs' hit a long triple high off the right-field wall. The rain turned heavy and forced the game to a halt. Typical rain delay clubhouse activities for ballplayers usually involve playing cards, watching TV or idling aimlessly. Weathers avoided all of the above. "I think that's the good part about being a veteran guy," Weathers said. "You just know how to handle those situations. You keep your thoughts right and not get in here and start watching TV or thinking about other things than what matters and that's the game." Narron was asked how long a delay it would have taken to keep Weathers from going back out. "Not tonight. He was going back out there, bro," Narron said. Weathers knew it, too. Despite 90-degree heat, he kept a jacket on to stay warm and made warmup throws in the clubhouse batting cage. Phillies fans able to peek through a glass window banged away and shouted insults. "I couldn't find a corner to hide in," Weathers said. "I knew I might have some gray in my beard by the time [Narron] said you're not pitching." The first two batters Weathers would face after the game resumed were Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. He turned to injured closer Eddie Guardado in the dugout for advice. "I looked and said, 'How would you go after Utley here?'" Weathers said. "It's a huge situation in the game, two outs and a man on third. He said stay with your best pitch, which is a sinker. That's what I did." Utley drew a walk but Howard looked at a called strike three to end the eighth. "Before the delay, I felt like I couldn't throw the ball into the batting cage," Weathers said. "Then, once the delay [ended], I went out there and started playing catch and thought, 'This is how I normally feel.' My location was better. I did exactly what I wanted to with Utley. I didn't want to give him anything. And I was pitching around Ryan Howard. I got a low strike called and he fouled that ball off and I felt like it was an opportunity to get out of that inning." Howard made history earlier in the game with a 505-foot blast to center field, which made him the fastest player in Major League history to reach 100 home runs. The Phillies first baseman reached the milestone in 325 games, putting him ahead of Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, who hit the century mark at 385. Weathers has been the lone bright spot in the struggling Reds bullpen, which entered with a 4.80 ERA and ranked 14th amongst National League clubs. After being stifled by Phillies starter Jamie Moyer for six innings, Cincinnati rallied for six runs in the seventh to take a 6-3 lead. It quickly evaporated. After a single and Dobbs' RBI double off starter Aaron Harang began the seventh, the right-hander was lifted in favor of Jon Coutlangus. For the seventh time this season, Coutlangus walked his first batter -- this time Utley on four pitches. The plate appearance included the first of two passed balls committed by catcher Javier Valentin, which moved Dobbs to third. There was one out for Marcus McBeth (2-1) against Aaron Rowand when a second passed ball off umpire Jeff Kellogg's mask scored Dobbs and got Utley to third base. That forced the infield in, and helped Rowand shoot a hard game-tying single up the middle. "When you're waiting for offspeed and get a fastball, it's hard to see," Valentin said of his signals crossing with McBeth. Valentin, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh and hit what was then a game-tying RBI single, got a chance to atone for the mistakes in the Reds' eighth. After Edwin Encarnacion was hit by a Brian Sanches (1-1) pitch and moved to second by a sacrifice, Valentin lined an RBI double to right field that scored the go-ahead run. "You do anything you can to get that run back," Valentin said. "It made me feel a lot better." Adam Dunn smoked a two-run homer to left field for insurance in the ninth. With Weathers back out for the bottom of the ninth, Philadelphia went down in order and Cincinnati's three-game losing streak was snapped. "The thing I look at is, coming out of Spring Training, we didn't know if we'd be keeping [Dustin] Hermanson as the closer," Weathers said. "That's always been the question mark. As many times as I've said I don't think I'm the closer, I'm starting to enjoy the feeling of it and the rush of being out there when the game is on the line. I enjoy what I'm doing, but whether I make it or not [to the All-Star Game], I just want to do my job."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.