Bruce’s 8th inning HR lifts Reds over Halladay, Phils

Published 1:49 am Thursday, July 1, 2010

CINCINNATI — Jay Bruce provided a perfect send-off.

Bruce hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning off Roy Halladay, who has been anything but flawless since his perfect game, and the Cincinnati Reds rallied for yet another victory in their final at-bat Wednesday, 4-3 over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Reds lead the majors with 25 comeback wins, including 14 in their final at-bat — tied for most in the majors.

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“When you win a game like this, it’s a surprise but not a shock anymore because we’ve been doing it from day one,” Bruce said. “I think this is one of our best wins today.”

This one felt especially good under the circumstances. The Reds won’t play at home again until July 16, playing 11 in a row on the road before the All-Star break. It’s their longest stretch away from home since 2001.

“You want to leave on a high note,” manager Dusty Baker said. “This was a very well-played game in all respects.”

Joey Votto also homered off Halladay (9-7), who fell to 2-4 since his perfect game on May 29. He lost his touch while trying to hold a 3-2 lead in the eighth.

Jonny Gomes opened the inning with a single off a hanging curve. Bruce then connected on a fastball that wandered to the middle of the plate instead of staying on the outside corner.

“I beat myself with two bad pitches in the eighth,” Halladay said. “I really didn’t think they were hitting the ball all that hard until then.”

Arthur Rhodes (3-2) pitched a perfect inning, recovering from his 10th-inning loss a few hours earlier. Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 26 tries.

It was a lousy series for the Phillies, who lost two key players to injuries and two of the three games. Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel also was ejected from a game for arguing balls and strikes.

The defending NL champs put second baseman Chase Utley and third baseman Placido Polanco on the disabled list Tuesday. Utley has a sprained right thumb, Polanco a chronically sore left elbow. Both were back in Philadelphia getting more tests.

The Phillies’ fill-ins have kept them in games. Brian Schneider and Wilson Valdez hit three-run homers during a 9-6, 10-inning win on Tuesday night, when Philadelphia ended Rhodes’ record-tying streak at 33 scoreless appearances.

They were in position for another improbable win after reserve catcher Dane Sardinha hit a three-run homer — only the second of his career — off Aaron Harang.

Halladay gave up a season-high 13 hits and struck out 10 in eight innings, throwing 119 pitches. Manuel didn’t hesitate to send him back out for another inning after he escaped a threat in the seventh.

“In the eighth, that’s his game,” Manuel said. “He was fine.”

Sardinha connected with two outs in the fourth and Halladay on deck, hitting the first pitch several rows deep into the seats in left field. Sardinha, a .137 career hitter, hit his first career homer last week in an interleague game against Cleveland — Ohio’s other major league team.

Sardinha has three hits since his June 19 promotion, two of them homers. He was a second-round draft pick by the Reds in 2000 and appeared in two career games for Cincinnati, going 0 for 5. Hitting a homer against the Reds had extra significance.

“A little bit,” Sardinha said. “Any hit I get means a lot to me at this stage of my career.”

NOTES: The Reds optioned LH reliever Daniel Ray Herrera to Triple-A Louisville after the game. They plan to call up LHP Travis Wood from Triple-A Louisville for his big-league debut on Thursday at the Chicago Cubs. Wood lost the competition for the fifth starter’s spot to RHP Mike Leake during spring training. … LHP Aroldis Chapman gave up four runs, hit two batters and threw two wild pitches in 1 2-3 innings in relief for Louisville on Tuesday night. The Reds want to see whether the Cuban defector could help them as a reliever after the All-Star break. … Votto has reached base safely in 38 consecutive games, the longest streak by a Red since Pete Rose did it in 48 straight games in 1978.