CINCINNATI -- The Phillies knew they couldn't lose this one. It took their biggest comeback of the season to pull it out.
David Bell completed Philadelphia's last-swing comeback, hitting a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning Friday night for a pulsating 11-10 victory over the Cincinnati Reds that tightened the NL playoff race.
The Phillies took the field after Houston lost, providing a chance to close in on the first-place Astros in the wild-card race. The Phillies wasted a five-run lead and, until the ninth, looked like they were going to waste their chance to gain ground as well.
"We knew Houston had lost today," said Chase Utley, who keyed the winning rally with a three-run homer. "We wanted to get it, and somehow we did."
The two homers pulled it out and moved Philadelphia one game behind Houston for the wild card with eight to play. The Phillies remained four games behind NL East-leading Atlanta.
Utley's three-run shot, his second homer of the game, off David Weathers (7-4) cut it to 10-9 and got the Phillies believing. After Weathers got two strikeouts, Ryan Howard walked and the Phillies became entranced as Bell worked the count full before hitting his 10th homer.
"I was on the top step," Utley said. "I had a good feeling."
A dozen Phillies spilled out of the dugout and mobbed Bell on the field, reveling in a potential season-saving win. The Phillies scored 10 runs in the ninth inning for a 10-2 win over Florida last Saturday, but this one was much more improbable.
"I hope there will be a couple more, too," said Bell, who grew up in Cincinnati and had relatives in the stands. "There have been a few big games this month."
Both teams hit four homers, matching the record for a game during Great American Ball Park's three seasons. The Reds' came early, the Phillies' at the last moment.
"Some crazy stuff has happened," said Austin Kearns, who had one of Cincinnati's four homers. "It's been a long year."
Cincinnati's 82nd loss clinched a fifth straight losing season, the Reds' longest such streak since 1945-55.
Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies extended his hitting streak to 28 games in his first at-bat, getting the majors' hottest offense rolling. By the fifth inning, the lead was 6-1 and the Phillies appeared to be in control.
Then, they collapsed.
Felipe Lopez's bases-loaded single helped the Reds cut it to 6-5 and knock out starter Vicente Padilla in the fifth inning. Jacob Cruz led off the sixth with a tying homer, and Jason LaRue's third career pinch-hit homer - a two-run shot - gave the Reds their first lead in a game that came down to which bullpen could hold on.
Kearns hit his career-high 16th homer and Ray Olmedo followed with the first of his career off Aquilino Lopez in the seventh, when all the stunned Phillies could do was watch as the Reds' lead jumped to 10-6.
Then, they pulled off a stunner of their own.
"I've seen a lot of things," manager Charlie Manuel marveled. "You never know when it ends."
Philadelphia's offense has sizzled in September, scoring more runs than any team in the majors. Rollins has been the constant, compiling the longest hitting streak in the NL this season and the longest by a Phillies player since 1899.
Howard hit his 20th homer -- the most by an NL rookie -- and Utley had an RBI double and solo homer, helping the Phillies take the early lead. Reds starter Aaron Harang lasted only five innings, giving up a career-high 11 hits and six runs.
- Ed Delahanty hit safely in 31 in a row for the Phillies in 1899.
- Howard's 20 homers are the most by a Phillies rookie since Scott Rolen hit 21 in 1997.
- The five RBI by Utley matched his career high.
- Manuel, outfielder Bobby Abreu and pitcher Brett Myers were ejected by plate umpire Mike Everitt for arguing a called third strike in the ninth.
- It was LaRue's second pinch-hit homer this month. The other was Sept. 4 at Atlanta.
- Harang became the first Reds pitcher to throw 200 innings in a season since Elmer Dessens in 2001.