For the third game in a row Adam Eaton looked like a true front-line starter. His good start, coupled with a big two-run home run by Pat Burrell, gave the Phillies a nail-biting 3-2 win over the Reds Tuesday night. The Phils are now a season-best 10 games over .500 and are now 2.5 games in front of the National League East (Atlanta beat Florida, 5-4).
Eaton wasn’t dominant, but yet again hit his spots, threw an effective changeup and limited the Reds chances. He gave up only three hits, walked none, and struck out five. The only run the Reds scrounged against him was an Edwin Encarnacion home run. He threw 87 pitches â€” 50 for strikes â€” in his 6.2 innings. At some point it would be nice to see Eaton at least get through seven, but for now the goal is to build his confidence.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the sixth, Burrell delivered with a two-run bomb off Reds starter Aaron Harang. The Phils were able to hit Harang and Reds pitching, but they couldn’t come through in clutch situations. The biggest offender was Ryan Howard, who looked like his April self with seven LOB. They pitched him outside and he bit, grounding weakly or striking out. After a seventh inning strikeout with the bases loaded, Howard received a nice helping of boos.
Luckily the bullpen held on â€” barely. JC Romero walked Adam Dunn but struck out Joey Votto to end the seventh. Tom Gordon surrendered a leadoff triple to Encarnacion, who scored on a sac fly. But Gordon weaseled out of the inning. Brad Lidge walked two and gave up a hit, but a welcome double play ball and game-ending pop out by Encarnacion made everyone sigh with relief. Pitching for the third game in a row, Gordon and Lidge were clearly taxed and off their game. Maybe Charlie Manuel should’ve had a different strategy.
In the end, however, the Phils hung on. Chase Utley’s games-with-homer streak ended at five (again), but the man still roped two hits, including a jam-shot RBI single in the third. Shane Victorino’s consecutive-game hit streak ended at 14, but his order-mate, Jimmy Rollins, had three hits and two stolen bases. A good sight for sure.
Ken Griffey Jr. walked in a pinch hit appearance. He didn’t get 600. The Phils got the win. We’ll take it.
Associated Press photo