Devin Mesoraco hit a three-run homer in the first inning and it was enough to propel the Reds over the Phillies in Philadelphia on Friday at Citizens Bank Park, 3-0.
Mesoraco made his return to the lineup know on Friday after he was activated off the disabled list (Jeff Francis was optioned back to Louisville). After back-to-back singles by Billy Hamilton and Skip Schumaker to start the game, Mesoraco launched a three-run homer with two outs off Kyle Kendrick (0-4) for a quick 3-0 lead.
Alfredo Simon (5-2) had his own jam to work out of in the first inning when the Phillies (17-22) put runners at the corners for Marlon Byrd. Simon kept his cool and struck out Byrd swinging to end the inning. He wiggled his way off the hook in a similar situation in the third inning when he struck out Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to strand Jimmy Rollins at third.
Kendrick recovered from his first inning debacle and allowed just one hit over the next six innings. At one point he retired 15 in a row before Brandon Phillips reached on an infield single. The Reds (19-21) didn't fare much better against Antonio Bastardo in the eighth as he struck out Simon, Hamilton, and Schumaker to keep Philadelphia within striking distance.
The Phillies finally chased Simon in the eighth when Utley hit a two out single to bring up lefty slugger Ryan Howard. Bryan Price opted to go with Manny Parra to face Howard and it paid off as the Phillies first baseman struck out. Cincinnati had a chance to pad its lead in the ninth when Phillips doubled off Roberto Hernandez, but he would be stranded after Hernandez got Brayan Pena to line out.
It looked like the Reds might need those runs in the ninth when Aroldis Chapman came in the game. Chapman, in his first outing since losing to San Diego on Tuesday, quickly got the first two outs before troubled began to brew again. In his first two outings, the third hitter to face Chapman reached (Troy Tulowitzki walked, Chase Headley homered) and it stayed true when he walked John Mayberry Jr. Mayberry made it to third when Cody Asche singled then Hamilton misplayed it allowing Asche to go to second as well. Chapman recovered by striking out pinch-hitter Cesar Hernandez to notch his second save of the season.
The Reds will continue their three-game series on Saturday when Cole Hamels (0-2, 5.32 ERA) faces Homer Bailey (3-2, 4.72 ERA) who has won back-to-back decisions and three of his last four. The Reds have made a change in the rotation for Sunday's game as Tony Cingrani will be activated and start, which moves Mike Leake's start back to Monday. Cincinnati still can't avoid keeping players off the disabled list as it looks like Joey Votto might be the newest Red to get time off to recover from an injury, although an MRI showed no structural damage to his left knee.