Rhodes' scoreless streak ends in Reds' loss
Votto's three-run shot forces extras, but Phils counter in 10th
CINCINNATI -- Not only did lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes' stunning scoreless streak come to an end on Tuesday night, it was stopped at the most inopportune of moments for the Reds.In a 9-6 loss to the Phillies in 10 innings, it was Rhodes who gave up three runs in the top of the 10th without retiring a batter. It ended the Major League single-season record of 33 consecutive scoreless appearances he shared with two other pitchers. It also wiped out his 30 successive scoreless innings. "I was thinking about it when I was running in. Now it's over," Rhodes said of his bid to make history. "I have to move on and try to start another streak." With the Cardinals winning, the Reds surrendered first place in the National League Central and trail St. Louis by a half-game. It was a 6-6 game in the 10th when Ryan Howard led off with a double to the left-field wall that just missed being caught by Laynce Nix. Danger intensified when Jayson Werth followed with a walk. In another close play, Raul Ibanez hit a drive to the center-field warning track that went in and out of Drew Stubbs' outstretched glove. The RBI double scored Howard with the go-ahead run. Pinch-hitter Ben Francisco slapped a RBI single just past third baseman Miguel Cairo into left field to end Rhodes' night. With Nick Masset in, Wilson Valdez sacrificed towards first base, where Joey Votto threw home in an attempt to get Ibanez trying to score. Catcher Ramon Hernandez could not hang on to the ball. "You talk about a game of inches. That was certainly a game of inches tonight," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You hate for Arthur's streak to end like that. It was a remarkable streak, and now he can start another one. He was facing some very tough hitters in that 10th inning. "All good things must come to an end sooner or later." Rhodes entered the game with a 0.28 ERA, with his only run allowed coming in his second appearance of the season on April 10. Howard's double was just the second extra-base hit Rhodes has allowed to a lefty this season. "I heard Arthur had a streak going on. He's kind of tough," Howard said. "I just wanted to see a couple pitches and get something good. He left me a fastball kind of middle-in, just keep my hands inside and put a good swing on it." Even despite the outing, Rhodes should be getting serious consideration for the NL All-Star team when rosters are announced on Sunday. He always avoided talking about the streak. Normally when a reliever gives it up, he can expect to hear boos from the fans. It was quite the contrary for Rhodes as the 26,678 fans at Great American Ball Park recognized his season with a nice ovation. "All the fans were behind me. That was great," said Rhodes, whose ERA climbed to 1.13 after the game. "That's why I tipped my hat to the fans. I appreciated it." This was a tough one to lose for the Reds, especially since they had just completed a comeback from a 6-1 deficit. Trailing by three runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Reds rallied vs. Phillies closer Brad Lidge when Brandon Phillips walked and Orlando Cabrera singled to put runners on the corners and the tying run at the plate. Votto came through when he smoked a three-run homer 411 feet into right-center field for his team-lead-tying 17th of the season. The Reds were locked up by Phillies starter Joe Blanton for 7 2/3 innings. Votto's blast certainly took Reds starter Mike Leake off the hook after he had a lackluster evening. Leake pitched six innings and allowed a career-high six earned runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Both walks came to begin the top of the second inning and proved costly with one out when Brian Schneider launched a first pitch into the right-field seats for a 3-1 Phillies lead. Runners were on first and second with one out in the fourth when Valdez hit a first pitch from Leake into the left-field seats for his three-run homer that put the Reds down, 6-1. Valdez had a career-high four RBIs. "You have to make good pitches all the time, or else you're going to pay," Leake said. "Especially against a good-hitting team like that." Since making a rookie-year splash by going 5-0 with a 2.22 ERA in his first 11 starts, Leake is 0-2 with 6.85 ERA and 13 walks in his past four. He allowed five or more runs in three of those games. In an effort to curb Leake's innings totals toward a goal of 170, he was pushed back to get seven days' rest. The 22-year-old said it didn't really affect him Tuesday. "You like to come out quick after every outing and pitch after four days. It just gave me a couple of extra days' rest and thinking," Leake said. "Sometimes, thinking can be a bad thing."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.