PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Phillies finally got some offense and in the late innings no less.
Darin Ruf hit a walkoff single with one out in the ninth inning after Maikel Franco tied it in the eighth with a two-run homer to lead Philadelphia to a rare late-inning comeback victory, 5-4 over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
Philadelphia improved to 2-30 when trailing after seven innings.
Odubel Herrera led off the ninth against Tony Cingrani (0-2) with an opposite-field double to left. Herrera went to third on Carlos Ruiz’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Ruf’s broken-bat single to right.
“I had a lot of confidence in that spot with him and he came up big,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.
Jonathan Papelbon (1-0) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two, to earn the victory.
The Phillies looked headed to their eighth straight loss before scoring two runs with two outs in the eighth. They scored just 12 runs during their losing streak.
“You have to continue to fight like a team,” Franco said. “It’s awesome for the team.”
Jumbo Diaz got the first two outs in the eighth and looked like he had the third out when Ryan Howard hit a line drive to right. Jay Bruce was in position to make the catch but the ball went under his glove. Bruce said he lost the ball in the lights.
“I just couldn’t see it,” he said. “It was a helpless feeling. It’s frustrating and I don’t know what else I could do. Then the homer afterward put the icing on the cake.”
The play was ruled a double and Franco followed with a homer just inside the foul pole in left to tie it at 4.
“It seemed like for the last week and a half we’ve been missing that big hit, and Franco got the dugout energized,” Ruf said.
It was the third homer for the rookie who was batting .194 and had just two hits in his last 27 at-bats entering Tuesday.
Joey Votto had two hits with a double and two RBIs for the Reds. Johnny Cueto returned to the mound after missing two starts due to right elbow inflammation and allowed two runs — one earned — and five hits in six innings.
“He was sharp,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He was into it, was feeling it.”
Chase Utley homered and had three hits for the Phillies, who avoided tying their worst losing streak since July 2013. Philadelphia won for just the second time in the last 11 games.
Sean O’Sullivan started for the Phillies and allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The game started in a heavy drizzle and was played under a persistent drizzle throughout the chilly evening with unseasonably cool temperatures in the 50’s.
Votto followed Brandon Phillips’ game-opening single with an RBI double down the left-field line to give the Reds a 1-0 lead.
Philadelphia tied it in the second on Herrera’s RBI groundout. The run was unearned after third baseman Todd Frazier made the first of two fielding errors, both on balls hit by Franco.
Votto’s RBI single to left in the third put the Reds in front 2-1, and Cincinnati took a 4-1 lead on Zack Cozart’s RBI double and an RBI sacrifice bunt by Billy Hamilton, who batted ninth.
Bruce extended his hitting streak against the Phillies to 15 straight games with a fifth-inning single.
JOHNNY BE GOOD
Cueto showed no ill effects of the injury that kept him sidelined since May 19. An MRI last Tuesday showed no structural damage and a strong bullpen session on Sunday left Cueto feeling good entering his start. The biggest scare for the right-hander might have been in the fifth inning when he had to avoid the barrel of Ben Revere’s broken bat that went flying past the mound.
DOWN NIGHT FOR FRAZIER
In addition to the two errors, Frazier, the reigning NL Player of the Week, cooled off at the plate by going 0 for 4. Frazier entered 11 for 22 with four homers in his last six games.
Philadelphia SS Freddy Galvis went 0 for 4 and is hitless in his last 17 at-bats. Since May 15, Galvis is batting .138.
Sandberg said Galvis needs to make an adjustment to his approach at the plate.
“When he’s on top of the ball and a little shorter (with his swing), that’s what he needs to get back to,” Sandberg said.
Reds: OF Marlon Byrd fractured his right wrist when he was hit with a pitch by O’Sullivan leading off the sixth inning. Byrd reacted painfully but shook off the injury and went to first base. He was replaced in left field in the bottom of the seventh by Brennan Boesch.
“It’s a wrist fracture but right now we don’t know to what degree,” Price said.
Reds: RHP Mike Leake (2-4, 4.66) takes the mound for Cincinnati on Wednesday night looking to improve his career mark against the Phillies. Leake is 1-5 with a 7.41 ERA in six career starts against the Phillies, including 0-2 with an 8.53 ERA in two starts at Citizens Bank Park.
Phillies: LHP Cole Hamels (5-4, 2.91) starts Wednesday night. The Phillies’ ace has owned Cincinnati throughout his career, going 9-0 with a 1.51 ERA in 12 starts against the Reds.