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05/21/09 5:32 PM ET
Reds unable to rally twice, fall to Phils
Phillips drills three-run homer; Owings, bullpen struggle
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI - The Reds' Bark in the Park promotion for canine fans was held two nights ago, but it was Thursday that proved to be a real dog day afternoon on the field at Great American Ball Park. Fifth starter Micah Owings simply didn't have it. And despite a robust comeback attempt, the bullpen couldn't bail the Reds out during a 12-5 loss to the Phillies. Owings (3-5) gave up five earned runs and six hits over just three innings with three walks and three strikeouts. The right-hander left trailing by a 5-0 score. "We couldn't keep Jimmy Rollins off the bases, and Chase Utley and the big boys hit the ball out of the ballpark," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Sooner or later, they're going to erupt, and they erupted today." Rollins was 1-for-9 in the previous two games of the series and went 4-for-6 on Thursday. Utley drove in four runs and was one of four Phillies to hit homers in the game. Yet the biggest mistake came in the top of the second inning when Owings (3-5) walked pitcher Joe Blanton with two outs. It eventually led to three Phillies runs scoring. Owings' 36-pitch second inning began with a walk to seventh hitter Greg Dobbs, but the Reds caught a break when catcher Ryan Hanigan picked off Dobbs at first base. Carlos Ruiz struck out and Owings was one strike from finishing off the inning against Blanton. It didn't happen. Blanton walked on a 3-2 pitch and the inning spiraled. Rollins followed with a single. Hanigan canceled out his earlier moment with a regrettable one when he tried picking Blanton while he stood two steps off second base. The throw hit Blanton in the back and went into center field for an error that moved the runner to third. Utley followed with a sharp two-run single off second baseman Brandon Phillips' glove. Raul Ibanez's RBI single made it a 4-0 game and the deficit stretched to five runs in the third when Dobbs hit a two-out solo homer off Owings. Owings' start was pushed back already after he was pressed into 5 2/3 innings of emergency relief on Saturday at San Diego. It was clear he wasn't 100 percent on the mound and was often wild. He totaled 71 pitches in the short outing, including 59 through two innings. "He didn't have his best stuff today," Baker said. "We figured he wouldn't go too far because of that six-inning stint in San Diego. It kind of messed us up. We didn't have much choice. I talked to Micah and he said, 'Hey, that's my job.' We owe him a couple for that one. Hopefully next time out he'll be rested and better." For one inning, the Reds showed some gusto when they scored all five of their runs in the fifth against Blanton (2-3). The biggest blow was a three-run home run by Phillips that made it a 6-5 game. It only made the later innings all the more deflating. "Then they shut us down and exploded again. Everybody knows they can hit," Baker said. The Reds bullpen combo of Ramon Ramirez, Daniel Herrera, Jared Burton and Mike Lincoln combined for seven runs allowed in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. That included Ryan Howard's solo homer off Herrera in the seventh and three more runs in the inning against Burton, which put the game back out of reach for Cincinnati. The Reds dropped two out of the three games in the series and have lost five of their past six games.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.