Phillies' bullpen again blows late lead vs. Reds
CINCINNATI — The Phillies’ bullpen blew another one.
Scott Schebler doubled with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning as the Cincinnati Reds took advantage of another meltdown by Philadelphia’s relievers and rallied to a 3-2 win on Wednesday night.
That’s two in a row decided by the Phillies’ biggest weakness — nobody who can closes out a game. Philadelphia also wasted a one-run lead in the eighth inning of a 6-2 defeat on opening day.
Ahead all the way until the ninth, the Phillies let another one get away.
“These close ones are killing me already,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “It’s a shame we wasted two good starts. We need to score more runs.”
Two looked like it would be enough until Dalier Hinojosa (0-1) came on to start the ninth and gave up three singles that loaded the bases with one out. Schebler, acquired from the Dodgers in the three-team deal that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox in the offseason, doubled to left-center to complete the rally and leave the Phillies downcast again with the worst type of loss.
“They do (hurt) because we don’t have a defined ninth-inning guy so we’re searching for that,” Mackanin said. “We knew going in that we might lose some games not having a guy to close it out at the end.”
Blake Wood (1-0) pitched one inning for the win, the Reds’ seventh straight over the Phillies at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati has won 10 of its last 11 against Philadelphia there.
Aaron Nola gave up four hits over seven innings on a blustery night, and Maikel Franco added to his impressive springtime with a two-run homer into the wind in the first inning. Nola gave up Eugenio Suarez’s solo homer and matched his career high by fanning eight, but failed to get a win.
“I had command of all my pitches,” Nola said. “It’s tough, but it’s baseball. Anything can happen.”
The game started with gusty winds that made the bunting flap wildly. Intermittent rain pelted the players and the crowd of 21,621.
Franco hit a two-run homer into the wind in the first inning off left-hander Brandon Finnegan, one of his few bad pitches on a rough night. Finnegan — obtained from Kansas City as part of the deal for Johnny Cueto last July — allowed only three hits and a walk in six innings, striking out a career-high nine.
Franco’s homer extended his impressive springtime. He hit nine homers and drove in 23 runs during spring training, the most by any player in the majors.
Reds 2B Brandon Phillips was a late scratch from the lineup because of a stomach virus. He’d been slotted to bat cleanup. Devin Mesoraco was moved up to the fourth spot.
Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton made a diving catch in center to rob Cedric Hunter of a potential RBI single in the seventh inning. It was his second diving catch in two games.
Phillies: 1B Ryan Howard was out of the lineup. Mackanin reminded him over the weekend of his plan to sit him against left-handed pitchers. “He said, ‘I don’t like it, but I get it,’” Mackanin said. “He’s OK with it — not OK with it, but it’s not an issue.”
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani threw the equivalent of three innings of batting practice without a problem, an indication he’ll be able to start on Sunday against the Pirates. DeSclafani missed his anticipated opening day start because of a strained left oblique.
Phillies: RHP Charlie Morton makes his first start for the Phillies, who got him from the Pirates last December for David Whitehead. Morton is 6-7 against Cincinnati.
Reds: RHP Robert Stephenson becomes the seventh Reds pitcher to make his major league debut in the last two seasons. The 23-year-old was Cincinnati’s first pick in the 2011 amateur draft, the 27th overall. He made 11 starts at Triple-A last season.