Photo by Dayton Daily News / Nick Graham
Our Philadelphia Phillies brought a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the 8th inning of their regular season opener against the Cincinnati Reds, but the bullpen ultimately imploded en route to a 6-2 loss.
Phillies’ starter Jeremy Hellickson was a major bright spot of the afternoon, pitching six innings while giving up only one unearned run, striking out six, and walking zero on an efficient 79 pitches. The run scored on an inexcusable missed catch error by first baseman Ryan Howard in the bottom of the first inning.
Shortstop Freddy Galvis gave the Phillies the lead right back in the top of the 2nd with a two-run homer that just cleared the right field wall. Galvis also added a slick double play turn in the 3rd inning to cap off a promising game for the guy that should be the Phillies’ everyday shortstop throughout the season.
Manager Pete Mackanin made an interesting decision to pinch-hit Emmanuel Burriss for Hellickson in the top of the 7th after only 79 pitches. Although Burriss failed to reach base, at least the Phillies’ 7th inning reliever, Jeanmar Gomez looked effective with a 1-2-3 inning before things imploded in the 8th.
David Hernandez began the bottom of the 8th for the Phillies and a leadoff walk followed by a double and another walk promptly loaded the bases for the Reds with nobody out. James Russell then relieved Hernandez, who managed the first out after the Reds tied the game on a shallow sac-fly. Phillies RF Peter Bourjos made a nice throw on the play, but the speed of Reds’ LF Scott Schebler was too much to turn the double play.
With two on and one out in a tie game the Phillies had a way out of the inning, but Russell gave up yet another walk followed by a two-run single by Joey Votto to give the Reds the lead for good. To add salt to the wound, Hector Neris relieved Russell and promptly hit Brandon Phillips with a pitch and gave up another two-run single, this time to Jay Bruce.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz and LF Cedric Hunter each hit sharp line drives in the ninth for the Phillies, but both were robbed by diving catches to extinguish any chance of a miraculous rally. Bourjos grounded out to end the game.
- The Phillies finished with only six hits, one walk, and ten strikeouts.
- 2B Cesar Hernandez hit leadoff, and was the only Phil to finish with multiple hits, going 2-4 with a double.
- Ryan Howard finished 0-3 with a strikeout and 3 LOB, in addition to his fielding error in the first inning. Darin Ruf struck-out while pinch-hitting for him in the 8th inning.
- 3B Maikel Franco was solid defensively, and notched his first hit of the season with a single in the 3rd. He also struck-out twice and finished 1-4.
- Hernandez was credited with the loss for the Phils, but it’s Russell who now sports the impressive 54.00 ERA.
- Raisel Iglesias got the start for the Reds, finishing with 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7K, and 0 BB. Reliever Ross Ohlendorf earned the win.
After an off day tomorrow, the Phillies continue their opening three-game series in Cincinnati on Wednesday. Aaron Nola gets the start for Philadelphia, opposed by 22-year-old lefty Brandon Finnegan. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.