Reds’ offense still struggling against Phillies

Published 1:44 am Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CINCINNATI (AP) — In two games, the Cincinnati Reds have managed only one run and four hits off Philadelphia’s starters.

No wonder that winning streak hit the wall.

Roy Halladay allowed only a pair of hits in seven innings and drove in three runs with the second double of his career on Tuesday night, leading the Phillies to a 9-0 victory over a Cincinnati team that can’t handle Philadelphia’s fabulous rotation.

Email newsletter signup

“Their pitching staff is where it’s at,” Reds starter Bronson Arroyo said. “When you’ve got three guys that could probably win the Cy Young and be as consistent as they’ve been all year, it’s very hard to beat those guys on a consistent basis.”

The Reds had won four in a row before the Phillies came to town and took over.

Halladay (16-5) gave up Brandon Phillips’ leadoff single in the first inning, then dominated the team he no-hit in the playoffs last season. His bases-loaded double in the sixth inning off Arroyo (8-11) made it 6-0.

Ryan Howard hit two of the Phillies’ four homers, giving him 29 for the season. He also reached 100 RBIs for the sixth straight year, a team record. Howard had been tied with Hall of Famer Chuck Klein for consecutive 100-RBI seasons.

Raul Ibanez returned from a strained groin and had a two-run homer among his three hits. Hunter Pence also hit a solo homer off Arroyo, who has given up the most in the majors.

The Phillies improved to 5-1 against the Reds this season and 19-6 lately. They swept their three-game division series last season, which started with Halladay throwing the second postseason no-hitter in history.

When he gets together with the Reds, memorable things tend to happen.

Any thoughts of another no-hitter were dismissed on his second pitch. Phillips singled to right field, extending his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest by a Red this season. The Reds wouldn’t get another hit until Joey Votto doubled in the seventh. Halladay walked two, hit one batter and fanned nine.

“Halladay wasn’t sharp early,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He threw a lot of pitches. It’s always a game changer when you get on a guy like that early.”

Cincinnati couldn’t do it. The Reds managed four hits while getting blanked for the seventh time. Philadelphia’s 18 shutouts lead the majors.

Halladay will remember this one more for his swing.

He came to bat in the sixth with the bases loaded and lined a down-the-middle slider the opposite way into the right-field corner, producing his first RBIs of the season and ending Arroyo’s outing.

The right-hander fell to 1-7 career against the Phillies.

Howard connected off Arroyo in the fourth, a two-run homer that carried out.

“I didn’t think that Howard’s was out,” Arroyo said. “In this ballpark, you hope the wind will keep it in. It was straight up. It just got out.”

Pence hit a chest-high pitch for a homer that started the rally in the sixth — the exact pitch that Arroyo wanted to throw.

“Hunter is kind of a strange hitter,” Arroyo said. “He hits some balls that you think are going to bounce. He just hit it out of the park. That’s the way it goes with guys like that sometimes, you know. They’re so unorthodox. He’s hitting ball like Vladimir Guerrero hit, balls that shouldn’t be hit.”

Arroyo has given up 36 homers, the most ever by a Reds right-hander. Left-hander Eric Milton holds the franchise record of 40 homers allowed.

Notes: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski shagged balls during batting practice and threw a ceremonial pitch. … It was Howard’s third multihomer game of the season and the 28th of his career. … After the game, the Phillies optioned RH Michael Schwimer to Triple-A. They’ll make a corresponding move on Wednesday. … The Phillies will start LH Cliff Lee in their third game against Cincinnati on Wednesday. Lee has won his last five starts. He beat the Reds on May 26 in Philadelphia, improving to 5-2 career against them. … Cincinnati will start left-hander Dontrelle Willis, who is still trying for that elusive first win of the season. He’s 0-3 after nine starts. The bullpen has blown three save chances behind him. … Paul Janish pinch-hit and flied out, leaving the Reds SS in an 0-for-23 rut.