Giving It A Ride

Published 1:33 am Thursday, July 29, 2010

MILWAUKEE — There’s a sign in the visitor’s clubhouse at Miller Park warning players they can get in trouble trying to sneak a ride on Bernie Brewer’s slide way out in left field.

Brandon Phillips got a rush just by hitting it.

Phillips smacked a 450-foot grand slam that landed in the giant yellow slide before popping out and Travis Wood earned his first win in the majors for the Cincinnati Reds, 10-2 over Milwaukee on Wednesday.

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“It felt like I hit a tennis ball or a golf ball,” Phillips said. “I think I hit every seam, every word of ’Major League Baseball’ on there and the logo. I hit every part of that ball. It felt good, I tell you that. It was about time.”

With the win, Cincinnati kept the pressure on St. Louis for first place in the NL Central after the teams entered play Wednesday in a virtual tie at the top.

The Reds scored 10 unanswered runs, capped by Phillips’ shot and Joey Votto’s solo homer in the eighth, for their 30th come-from-behind victory of the season.

Wood (1-1), who took a perfect game into the ninth inning on July 10, won in his sixth career start and the Reds piled on the runs, scoring five in the sixth off starter Chris Narveson and reliever Kameron Loe and five more off Carlos Villanueva in the eighth.

Cincinnati finished the trip 4-2 and is 26-24 away from Great American Ball Park.

“There’s less things you have to worry about when you’re on the road,” Phillips said. “When we’re on the road, we’re all about baseball, and that’s what we love.”

Jordan Smith, Arthur Rhodes, Nick Masset and Francisco Cordero combined for four scoreless innings of relief, allowing three hits.

Trailing 2-0, the first six batters reached to start the sixth for the Reds, who sent 11 men to the plate. Votto’s RBI single chased Narveson (8-7) and Jonny Gomes tied the game when he drove in the 300th run of his career with a double off Loe.

Miguel Cairo followed with a two-run double and Ryan Hanigan’s squeeze bunt made it 5-2. The long inning ended Wood’s day. He scattered five hits and a walk with six strikeouts over five innings. Wood said it felt good to finally win, but he also is expecting some grief for his third-inning decision. He walked off the mound after only recording two outs and had to be summoned back to finish the frame.

“He was strutting pretty good out there,” Reds manager Dusty Baker joked.

Wood isn’t sure how he lost track of the outs.

“Normally, I walk off that side of the mound after a strikeout,” Wood said. “I just kept going. It happens. It shouldn’t, but it did.”

In the eighth, Villanueva loaded the bases on two singles and a walk to bring up Phillips, who sent the ball into the bright yellow slide in left field that starts in the upper deck and spirals down to the club level for his fourth career slam. The ball ricocheted into the bleacher’s below, but shots that deep are rare — Sammy Sosa homered off the slide in the 2002 Home Run Derby.

Votto followed two batters later with another shot to left field that made it 10-2. The slugging first baseman is 14 of 26 with three homers, nine runs and six RBIs in his last six games.

Cincinnati scored 22 runs off 32 hits in the final two games of this series after managing six hits in a 3-2 loss in the opener on Monday night.

“They used their power,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said.

Milwaukee had been playing better baseball of late, but the Brewers trail the Reds by nine games in the division with the non-waiver trade deadline looming Saturday.

Wood struck out five consecutive batters at one point, but trailed 2-0 on Ryan Braun’s RBI double and run-scoring single by Jonathan Lucroy. It could’ve been more, but right fielder Jay Bruce saved two runs with a diving grab on a soft flare by Carlos Gomez to end the fourth.

“Our defense wins games. A lot of people think that offense is the key to things, but if you have pitching and defense you can win a lot of games,” Phillips said. “We have everything. The only team that can beat us is ourselves.”

Notes: Reds 3B Scott Rolen had the day off. … Brewers 1B Prince Fielder was ejected after being called out on strikes to end the eighth and slamming his helmet. Backup catcher George Kottaras played the ninth. … Brewers 3B Casey McGehee took a hard shot to his lower right leg when Orlando Cabrera slid into him cleats first trying to steal third in the fourth. … Both teams have a day off Thursday.