CINCINNATI (AP) – The Cincinnati Reds used a well-rounded effort to end their losing streak on Saturday.
Jay Bruce homered and drove in three runs and the Reds snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-5 win over the Phillies.
Todd Frazier also homered and the Reds played strong defense, throwing out two runners at the plate to end innings and overcome homers by Marlon Byrd, Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins to send the Phillies to their seventh loss in eight games.
“Talk about a complete game,” first-year manager Bryan Price said. “Those two perfectly executed relay throws were a big deal. We had a lot of good things, defensively and offensively.”
Center fielder Billy Hamilton, second baseman Brandon Phillips and catcher Devin Mesoraco teamed up to throw out Byrd at the plate to end the sixth inning and Ruiz to end the seventh.
“Those are fun plays,” Mesoraco said. “Those are always my most fun plays. You certainly don’t want to give up the doubles to get into that position.”
Alfredo Simon (8-3) allowed seven hits and three runs with three strikeouts in six innings. Jonathon Broxton pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
The Reds wasted no time snapping their 17-inning scoreless streak, scoring in the first inning. Hamilton drew a leadoff walk, stole second on the first pitch to Skip Schumaker and hustled to third on Schumaker’s groundout to Rollins at shortstop, setting up Bruce’s sacrifice fly.
“As a team, you need the small things,” Bruce said. “Those are what lead to the bigger things.”
The Phillies answered with Byrd’s two-run homer in the second, his ninth of the season.
Frazier led off the bottom of the second with his team-leading 13th homer of the season, giving him home runs in three of his past four games.
Frazier sparked Cincinnati’s fourth-inning go-ahead rally with a single to right field and stolen base. Zack Cozart drove him in with a sinking line drive to right-center field that Ben Revere got a glove on with a diving try before the ball trickled away. Cozart went to third on Ramon Santiago’s single and scored on Hamilton’s sacrifice fly.
The Phillies threatened in the fifth, getting runners to second and third with one out, prompting manager Ryne Sandberg to pinch-hit John Mayberry Jr. for starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez.
Hernandez (2-4), is 0-3 in seven starts since his most recent win on May 4, allowed four hits and four runs with three walks and two strikeouts in four innings. He also hit a batter.
Bruce followed Brandon Phillips’ fifth-inning leadoff walk with his fourth homer of the season and first since April 20 against the Cubs in Chicago. The homer was his first in Cincinnati since April 3 and the 100th of his career at Great American Ball Park.
“That’s one of those things I knew was coming,” Bruce said. “You just have to keep on keeping on. I’ve been trying to keep the same approach. It felt good to put a good swing on a pitch I should have driven.”
Ruiz led off the sixth with his second homer of the season, and Rollins hit a two-run shot in the seventh, his eighth homer of the season and second in two days.
Byrd was thrown out on a double on Domonic Brown’s double to right-center field. He collided with Mesoraco, prompting umpire crew chief Tom Hallion to ask for a review to make sure Major League Baseball’s new rules governing plays at the plate weren’t violated.
“I can’t give you an educated response because I don’t know what the rule is,” Byrd said. “I was waiting for a lane. I was going to slide outside and get my hand in”
When the replay confirmed the initial ruling, Sandberg came out of the dugout to argue, which is automatic grounds for ejection. The umpires tried to wave him back into the dugout, and Hallion ejected Sandberg when he persisted.
“My argument was the catcher blocked the plate before he had the ball,” Sandberg said. “Byrd almost twisted his ankle with indecision. It has gone against us three times with different scenarios. Everyone wants to know what the rule is.”
Notes: Reds 1B Joey Votto will begin an injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Sunday. Votto hasn’t played since going on the disabled list on May 21, retroactive to May 16, with a quadriceps strain in his left knee, the same knee on which he had two surgeries in 2012. … Bruce’s walk in the third inning was his first in 16 games since he was walked three times by Milwaukee on May 1. … Sandberg’s ejection was the first of his managerial career. … Rollins needs six hits to pass Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt and become Philadelphia’s career hits leader.