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Phillips hits walk-off homer in ninth, Reds win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- Brandon Phillips thought about re-enacting a celebration from the movie Major League and rounding the bases with bat in hand.

No need. He'd provided enough drama already.

Phillips hit a two-out, two-run homer off Fernando Salas in the ninth inning Friday night, rallying the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in another wild finish to the NL Central's nastiest rivalry.

Phillips connected on the second pitch from Salas (5-3) for his second career game-ending homer, stopping to wave his arms in joy before reaching first base. Phillips injected some ill will into the rivalry last season when he called the Cardinals whiners, sparking a brawl.

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Given the circumstances, the second baseman ranked it as his most memorable homer.

"Biggest? Let me go ahead and say yes," Phillips said. "That's the biggest one. We're playing the Cardinals. That's a great situation for me getting that home run."

The Reds were on the verge of falling five games behind the Cardinals before Phillips connected. Players formed a circle around home plate, celebrating their first game-ending homer since Ramon Hernandez won their season opener with a ninth-inning homer.

Phillips, who loves theatrics, considered carrying his bat all the way home like a favorite character from Major League.

"I wanted to do cartwheels," he said. "I thought about doing Pedro Cerrano and carrying my bat around the bases. I was trying to keep it classy."

St. Louis went up 5-4 in the eighth on Albert Pujols' two-run homer off hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman. But the Cardinals' closer couldn't hold on, blowing a save for the third time in 19 chances. His second pitch to Phillips was closer to the middle of the plate than he wanted.

"I just left the ball in the wrong spot," Salas said, through a coach serving as translator. "He just made a good swing on a pitch I left a little bit out over the plate."

The sellout crowd of 41,238 reveled in the one-swing finish to a wild game that fit the rivalry. Logan Ondrusek (4-3) got the win.

"To get a walk-off is huge," manager Dusty Baker said. "Them coming back, us coming back -- that was a playoff atmosphere tonight."

Chris Heisey hit a pair of solo homers for the Reds and robbed Pujols of one in the first inning, snatching his flyball from the top of the wall in center. Johnny Cueto protected the 2-0 lead into the seventh inning.

Then it got wild, just like so many games between these teams.

Phillips, a Gold Glove winner, committed only his third error of the season in the seventh, helping St. Louis rally ahead. Tony Cruz's pinch-hit RBI single put the Cardinals up 3-2.

Third baseman David Freese's throwing error let the lead slip away fast. Rookie shortstop Zack Cozart drove in the tying run with an infield single, and Joey Votto's double put the Reds up 4-3.

Pujols put the Cardinals back ahead by getting the best of a power-vs.-power matchup, hitting a 96 mph fastball from Chapman for a two-run homer in the eighth. It was his 19th homer and his second since returning from a broken left wrist.

Pujols declined to talk after the game.

Both teams slogged through the first half of the season trying to overcome a seemingly nonstop slew of injuries. The Cardinals lost Pujols and Matt Holliday, while the Reds' rotation and bullpen were in flux. St. Louis handled it better, going into the All-Star break tied with Milwaukee for first place in the NL Central.

Defending champion Cincinnati stumbled into the break in fourth place after closer Francisco Cordero blew three save chances in five days. This time, the Reds overcame another late meltdown.

Heisey started the game with a little sizzle. He caught Pujols' drive at the top of the wall in center field in the first inning, holding on when his glove smacked the yellow padding. Heisey then had the third leadoff homer of his career off Jake Westbrook -- he also had a leadoff homer off him on July 6, when the Reds won 7-6.

Heisey hit another solo shot in the fifth for the second multihomer game of his career.

Notes

  • The Cardinals expect RF Allen Craig back by Aug. 1. Craig hurt his right knee when he ran into a padded railing while trying to catch a ball on June 7.
  • The Reds honored their four All-Stars -- Votto, Phillips, 3B Scott Rolen and RF Jay Bruce -- on the field before the game.
  • Rolen got his 500th double, joining Hall of Famer George Brett and Chipper Jones as the only 3B with at least 2,000 hits, 500 doubles, 300 homers and 1,200 RBI.
  • The Reds put RHP Jose Arredondo on the DL with a sore forearm and recalled LHP Jeremy Horst from Triple-A.
  • Cozart has hit safely in his first five games.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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The Reds' Brandon Phillips swings through a walk-off shot in the ninth against the Cardinals' Fernando Salas.  (Getty Images)
The Reds' Brandon Phillips swings through a walk-off shot in the ninth against the Cardinals' Fernando Salas. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

C. Heisey
AB 5
R 3
H 2
HR 2
RBI 2
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ryan Theriot, SS4010103 .285
Colby Rasmus, CF4100113 .243
Albert Pujols, 1B5222002 .282
Matt Holliday, LF2110210 .325
Lance Berkman, RF3100112 .287
David Freese, 3B4011011 .333
    Lance Lynn, P0000000 .000
    Fernando Salas, P0000000 .000
Yadier Molina, C4001002 .278
Skip Schumaker, 2B3000000 .262
   a- Nick Punto, PH-2B1010000 .267
Jake Westbrook, P0000000 .115
   b- Jon Jay, PH1000000 .302
    Raul Valdes, P0000000 .000
    P.J. Walters, P0000000 .000
   c- Tony Cruz, PH1011000 .333
    Mitchell Boggs, P0000000 .000
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
    Daniel Descalso, 3B0000100 .261
Totals3257564  
a-singled for Schumaker in the 9th
b-popped out for Westbrook in the 6th
c-singled for Walters in the 7th
Batting
2B - David Freese (6, Cueto)
HR - Albert Pujols (19, Chapman)
SH - Jake Westbrook (5)
RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (52), David Freese (19), Yadier Molina (32), Tony Cruz (5)
2-OUT RBI - Tony Cruz (1)
CS - Nick Punto (1, 2nd base by Bray/Hernandez)
PK - Ryan Theriot (2, Cueto)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Motte-Molina-Pujols
E - David Freese (5, Throwing)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jake Westbrook 5522052 5.26
Raul Valdes 0.1200000 3.60
P.J. Walters 0.2000110 0.00
Mitchell Boggs (BS,3)0121100 3.24
Trever Miller 0.1100110 4.02
Jason Motte 0.2000000 2.50
Lance Lynn (H,2) 1000010 3.63
Fernando Salas (BS,3; L,5-3) 0.2222011 2.62
IBB - B. Phillips by Trever Miller
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 82-51, Raul Valdes 8-4, P.J. Walters 13-5, Mitchell Boggs 9-4, Trever Miller 10-4, Jason Motte 4-3, Lance Lynn 10-7, Fernando Salas 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 5-5, P.J. Walters 1-0, Mitchell Boggs 1-0, Jason Motte 1-0, Lance Lynn 1-1
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 20, Raul Valdes 3, P.J. Walters 3, Mitchell Boggs 3, Trever Miller 3, Jason Motte 1, Lance Lynn 3, Fernando Salas 4
Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Chris Heisey, CF-LF5322010 .256
Zack Cozart, SS5131000 .381
Joey Votto, 1B5021001 .326
Brandon Phillips, 2B4112111 .290
Jay Bruce, RF4010014 .268
Scott Rolen, 3B3020101 .246
    Nick Masset, P0000000 .000
    Bill Bray, P0000000 .000
    Logan Ondrusek, P0000000 .000
Fred Lewis, LF3000025 .264
    Aroldis Chapman, P0000000 .000
    Miguel Cairo, 3B1000000 .291
Ramon Hernandez, C4000024 .315
Johnny Cueto, P2000011 .042
   a- Drew Stubbs, PH-CF1100110 .249
Totals37611639  
a-walked for Cueto in the 7th
Batting
2B - Joey Votto (20, Miller), Scott Rolen (20, Westbrook)
HR - Chris Heisey 2 (12, Westbrook, Westbrook), Brandon Phillips (9, Salas)
RBI - Chris Heisey 2 (33), Zack Cozart (1), Joey Votto (56), Brandon Phillips 2 (51)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Heisey (16), Brandon Phillips 2 (16)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - B. Phillips-Votto
E - Brandon Phillips (3, Misplayed grounder), Joey Votto (3, Misplayed grounder)
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Johnny Cueto 7532220 2.01
Aroldis Chapman (BS,1)0122201 5.40
Nick Masset 1000010 3.06
Bill Bray 0.1100100 2.10
Logan Ondrusek (W,4-3) 0.2000110 1.65
Pitches-Strikes - Johnny Cueto 87-55, Aroldis Chapman 14-4, Nick Masset 15-12, Bill Bray 11-6, Logan Ondrusek 15-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johnny Cueto 14-5, Nick Masset 1-1
Batters Faced - Johnny Cueto 28, Aroldis Chapman 3, Nick Masset 3, Bill Bray 2, Logan Ondrusek 3
Game Information
Attendance - 41238
Game Time - 3:06
Temperature - 86
Umpires - Home - Mike Muchlinski, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Chris Guccione