PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Small ball has been a winning formula for the surprising Philadelphia Phillies.
Jeremy Hellickson struck out nine in seven innings and drove in the go-ahead run on a suicide squeeze, helping the Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 on Friday night.
The Phillies were supposed to be in rebuilding mode after losing 99 games last season. Instead, they’re 21-15 mostly because they’re doing the little things right and winning close games.
“We have to play small ball,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “We don’t have the pop to wait for a three-run homer. We have to take what we can.”
Hellickson (3-2) allowed two unearned runs and four hits. Jeanmar Gomez finished for his 14th save in 15 chances.
The Phillies snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Reds with their fifth win in the past six games. They also improved to 13-3 in one-run games.
Reds starter Brandon Finnegan (1-2) gave up three runs and four hits in four innings.
“I didn’t have very good control,” Finnegan said. “I didn’t have my best stuff and it showed.”
Phillies rookie Tyler Goeddel hit his first career triple in the fourth, tying it at 2. His sharp liner down the right-field line drove in Carlos Ruiz and Tommy Joseph after both reached on walks. Goeddel scored the go-ahead run on Hellickson’s perfect bunt in front of the plate.
“I’ve been struggling to get those down the last few games,” Hellickson said. “I was just trying to get it down, not be too perfect.”
The Reds went ahead in the second inning when Goeddel dropped Tucker Barnhart’s fly ball down the left-field line, allowing two runs to score with two outs.
“I took my eye off the ball,” Goeddel said. “It didn’t feel good. I’m glad I got a chance to redeem myself.”
The Phillies moved six games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2011 season with a franchise-record 102 wins. The Reds dropped to 14-21 with their fourth loss in five games.
MORE SMALL BALL
The Phillies had three different players reach safely on bunt singles to go along with the squeeze.
WELCOME TO THE MAJORS
Joseph was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, batted sixth and played first base. He struck out twice and walked. Darin Ruf was sent to Triple-A to make room for Joseph, who revived his career after it was derailed by concussions. Joseph, who was acquired from San Francisco for Hunter Pence in 2012, moved from catcher to first base and earned a promotion after hitting .347 with six homers and 17 RBIs at Lehigh Valley.
“I like his approach,” Mackanin said.
Reds pitcher Ross Ohlendorf was suspended three games by Major League Baseball for throwing at Pittsburgh’s David Freese this week after warnings had been issued. Ohlendorf appealed the punishment, and is available to pitch until there is a final resolution. Manager Bryan Price was suspended one game and fined. Bench coach Jim Riggleman managed the club in Price’s absence.
Reds: OF Billy Hamilton was placed on the bereavement list. INF/OF Jose Peraza was recalled from Triple-A Louisville.
Phillies: INF/OF Cody Asche started a rehab assignment at Single-A Clearwater. Asche has been sidelined by a right oblique strain since spring training.
RHP Tim Adleman (1-0, 2.45 ERA) goes for the Reds while RHP Aaron Nola (2-2, 3.13 ERA) starts for the Phillies on Saturday night. Adleman makes his third career start. Nola gave up one run in seven innings in his only outing vs. Cincinnati.
Pirates 5, Reds 4
CINCINNATI (AP) — Six hit batters. Five home runs. Four ejections. The Pirates and Reds played more like the Steelers and Bengals, adding another bruising game to their hard-edged series.
And just like in that other sport, the team from Pittsburgh pulled it out at the end.
Jordy Mercer singled home the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday night, rallying the Pirates to a 5-4 victory in an NL Central rivalry game full of plunkings and ejections.
“It was an interesting game in a lot of different ways,” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who was ejected for questioning a call at second base. “A lot went on, and I’m proud of our club for battling.”
Andrew McCutchen, David Freese, Jung Ho Kang and Josh Harrison each hit solo homers, and the Pirates got their first lead on Mercer’s single off Ross Ohlendorf (3-4). Pittsburgh gained a split of the rain-shortened, two-game series.
Tony Watson (1-0) retired the side in the eighth. Mark Melancon gave up a single and a walk in the ninth while getting his 10th save in 11 chances.
Four Pirates and two Reds were hit by pitches as the teams extended their history of plunkings. Over the last four seasons, the Reds have hit 43 Pirates batters (10 this season) and the Pirates have hit 41 Reds (five this season). It’s the most of any series in the majors over that span.
The last time four Pirates were hit in a game was Sept. 7, 2008, at San Francisco.
“I don’t think it’s anything like, ‘Aw, they hit three guys, we’ve got to hit three guys,’” Harrison said. “It’s baseball. Within that respect, there’s emotions and sometimes guys are going to get hit.”
Hurdle and left fielder Starling Marte were ejected during a dispute over a call at second base in the sixth inning. Ohlendorf was ejected by plate umpire Jeff Kellogg for hitting Freese in the ninth, along with Reds manager Bryan Price.
“When Ohlendorf hit Freese, he said, ‘At some point, I have to do something,’” Price said. “As many guys as got hit tonight, you knew something was going to happen. I don’t have beef with the ejection.”
The Pirates managed only four hits in the first eight innings, all of them homers. Harrison’s second homer off Tony Cingrani tied it 4-4 in the eighth. Both of his homers have come against Cincinnati.
McCutchen’s homer in the fourth inning was his 26th career homer against Cincinnati, his most against any team. He also homered during the All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park last July.
Four batters after McCutchen’s homer, Alfredo Simon hit Kang with a pitch. In the bottom of the inning, Juan Nicasio hit Brandon Phillips in the upper leg with his first pitch, drawing loud boos from the crowd of 14,694 and a warning to both benches. Jay Bruce followed with his opposite-field homer that tied Adam Dunn’s career record of 126 at Great American Ball Park.
Pittsburgh’s Marte and Sean Rodriguez and Cincinnati’s Adam Duvall later were nicked by pitches, but there were no ejections until Ohlendorf in the ninth.
Marte was called safe while trying to steal second base in the sixth inning, but the decision was overturned on review. Hurdle was ejected while arguing the decision, and Marte was ejected while heading out to his position.