Reds hurt Phils’ playoff chances

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 22, 2003

PHILADELPHIA - Jim Thome and the Philadelphia Phillies are entering their biggest series of the year. They hope to show the same spirit Cincinnati did over the weekend.

Tim Hummel singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and the Reds rallied past Philadelphia 4-3 Sunday, preventing the Phillies from taking over the NL wild-card lead.

''Teams like Cincinnati come in here and this is their season,'' Thome said. ''It's unfortunate. But we've got to keep the momentum, the enthusiasm and the energy level up.''

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The struggling Reds won two of three at Veterans Stadium. The Fan Appreciation Day crowd of 57,883 saw the Phillies stay a half-game behind Florida, which lost 8-0 at Atlanta.

The Marlins and Braves finish their four-game series on Monday while the Phillies are off. Then, the Phillies start a three-game series at Florida on Tuesday. The Phillies won two of three when the teams played last week.

''We've got to win two out of three,'' manager Larry Bowa said. ''We would have needed to win two out of three if we won or not.''

Thome hit his 44th homer, a three-run shot that put the Phillies ahead 3-1 in the fourth.

But Philadelphia starter Vicente Padilla couldn't keep the lead.

The Phillies led 3-2 when Padilla (14-11) walked Corky Miller leading off the seventh. After an out, pinch-hitter Dernell Stenson doubled down the left-field line, tying the score.

Ryan Freel reached on an infield single and Hummel blooped a hit to right, scoring Stenson for a 4-3 lead and chasing Padilla.

Turk Wendell faced one batter, allowing a single to D'Angelo Jimenez to load the bases. Dan Plesac ended the threat, getting Sean Casey to hit into a double play.

Casey had two hits and two RBIs.

Dan Serafini (1-3) pitched a scoreless sixth for the win.

Chris Reitsma pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 17 chances. He struck out Tomas Perez with runners on first and second to end it.

Four Reds relievers combined to hold the Phillies to one hit over the last four innings. Cincinnati's staff held the Phillies to four hits Sunday and only 10 hits in the last two games.

''These guys should be proud of themselves to win two out of three in this environment,'' said Reds manager Dave Miley.

Padilla struck out nine, walked four and gave up seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. He lost for the second time in three starts.

Thome gave Padilla an early lead in the fourth. Placido Polanco and Bobby Abreu singled to lead off the inning.

That brought up Thome, given a huge ovation when he was first introduced. It was just a throaty warmup for what was to come.

On a 1-0 count, Thome hit a liner off Aaron Harang over the right-field scoreboard and the crowd went wild. It gave him a career-high 126 RBIs, topping the 124 he had in 2001 with Cleveland.

''We're probably fortunate that's the only damage he did,'' Miley said. ''We're lucky to shut him down.''

The 44 homers also are the most by a lefty in team history, breaking Chuck Klein's record set in 1929. His 378 homers tied him with former Indians teammate Matt Williams for 51st on the career list.

Thome, called by Bowa the most important free-agent signing in team history, continued to deliver in the clutch. He has 24 RBIs in September.

This time, however, it would be wasted, as the Reds started to rally against Padilla in the sixth.

Padilla gave up consecutive doubles to Jimenez and Casey, making it 3-2. But Padilla struck out Russell Branyan swinging and Wily Mo Pena tapped back to the mound to end the inning.


Harang gave up five hits, struck out three and walked none in five innings. … It was the fifth sellout this year at Veterans Stadium. … The Reds used a different lineup for the 32nd straight game.