Burrell#8217;s HRs lift Phillies over Reds
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 8, 2008
CINCINNATI (AP) — Hello, New York. The team that brought you all that torment last season is coming back to town.
Remember? The Philadelphia Phillies do, too.
Pat Burrell hit two of the Phillies’ four homers off Bronson Arroyo on Monday, setting up a 5-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds that provided a little momentum and a split of their four-game series.
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Then, the defending NL East champions headed for New York to face the Mets, the team they toppled in a stunning September.
“I enjoy going to New York and playing,” said Burrell, who has been Philadelphia’s hottest hitter. “There’s always a little extra excitement there. Especially with what happened last year, I’m sure they’re gunning for us. And that’s the way it should be.”
The Phillies are finding their stride just in time.
Jimmy Rollins and Geoff Jenkins also homered off Arroyo (0-1), who had never before given up more than three in a game. The Phillies had the league’s most prolific offense last year, but were widely inconsistent in the season’s opening week.
“We’re starting to swing the bats like we’re capable, and that takes a lot of pressure off our pitchers,” said Burrell, batting .435 with three homers and a team-high nine RBIs. “Hopefully we can continue to do this.”
Left-hander Cole Hamels (1-0) overcame a maddening first, when the Reds scored both their runs with the help of a walk and an error. Hamels settled down and gave up five hits and three walks in seven innings.
“That’s the problem I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Hamels said. “The first inning is probably the hardest one I’ve had. I’ve got to control my energy.”
The Reds didn’t seriously threaten again until the ninth, when they loaded the bases against Brad Lidge.
Lidge, who came off the disabled list Saturday after recovering from knee surgery, walked Paul Bako with two outs to start the rally. So Taguchi dropped Corey Patterson’s fly ball after a long run, and pinch-hitter Ken Griffey Jr. was intentionally walked.
Lidge bounced a wild pitch that let in a run, then struck out Javier Valentin on a 95 mph fastball that plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt judged to be on the outside corner.
“Up and away,” Valentin said. “There’s no way I’m going to take a pitch if it’s a strike. It was a bad pitch.”
“Who cares,” Lidge said. “He’s out.”
Philadelphia took a little momentum to New York for a three-game series against the Mets, whose meltdown opened the way for the Phillies to win the NL East last year. Philadelphia went 7-0 against the Mets from Aug. 27 on, overcoming a six-game deficit, and was looking forward to getting it on again.
“When we play them, it’s always kind of like a rivalry to us,” said ailing manager Charlie Manuel, who sniffled and coughed. “Them, too. They make a big deal out of it. As long as we put the whip on them, we’ll let them make a big deal out of it. They’ll talk, we’ll hit. That’s how I see it.”
The Phillies put a whipping on Arroyo, who hasn’t been at his best in day games. The right-hander went 1-6 in seven daytime starts last year.
He’s an emphatic 0-1 this season after lasting only 5 2-3 innings on Monday afternoon.
“I felt OK,” Arroyo said. “Not great, not horrible, just all right. I’m not really pleased — kind of middle of the road. I need to get a little sharper. I’m not really crisp enough to put people away.”
Rollins got it started with an opening at-bat that set the tone. Arroyo froze him on a 2-2 breaking ball that just missed, then left his next pitch over the plate. Rollins’ drive barely cleared the wall in right for his second homer. Burrell added a two-run shot later in the inning.
Burrell and Jenkins connected only four pitches apart in the third, prompting Arroyo to stand next to the mound with his right hand on his hip in dismay.
No surprise that those two had big games. Burrell has been tough to get out, and Jenkins has repeatedly tormented the Reds — his 29 homers and 90 career RBIs against them are his top totals against any team.
Arroyo nearly gave up a fifth homer in the sixth, when Pedro Feliz’s drive hit the left-field wall a couple of feet from the top.
Notes: It was Rollins’ first leadoff homer of the season and the 27th of his career. He last did it Sept. 27 against Atlanta. … It was Burrell’s 17th multihomer game. … The solo shots by Burrell and Jenkins in the third were the Phillies’ first back-to-back homers of the season. … Reds SS Jeff Keppinger extended his hitting streak to six games with an RBI single in the first inning. … In a 6-5 win over Arizona on Wednesday night, Arroyo threw 94 pitches in five innings while getting a no-decision. … Griffey was out of the Reds’ starting lineup, getting most of the day off.