Tony Cingrani's return from the disabled list was met with towering fly balls off the first two Phillies' bats and the Reds would watch Philadelphia continue to hit the long ball at Citizen's Bank Park on Sunday in an 8-3 Phillies victory.
After being shut out on Friday, Philadelphia (18-22) smacked around Reds (19-22) pitching for 20 runs and six homers. Unlike Homer Bailey who was tagged for six in one inning, the Phillies spaced out their four runs against Cingrani (2-3), who went six innings after being activated on Sunday from the DL (Tucker Barnhart was optioned back to Louisville to make room).
He would get support right away as the Reds scored six of the seven runs this weekend in the first inning. Billy Hamilton ran the Phillies in circles after reaching on a bunt, advancing to second on a walk to Chris Heisey, then stealing third. He helped Heisey steal second as he baited a throw away from Heisey, who was about to be caught in a run down. Instead Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard threw home and Hamilton raced back to third while Heisey stood at second safely.
Brandon Phillips scored Hamilton on a ground out then Heisey came in to score on a double by Devin Mesoraco. Mesoraco finished the day going 4-4 with two doubles and is 5-8 with a home run, four RBI and a run scored since being activated from the DL on Friday.
That lead was washed away in just nine pitches as Jimmy Rollins and Wil Nieves hit back-to-back homers to make a 2-2 game. Cingrani responded by striking out two of the next three hitters. He finished the day with seven strikeouts, but did walk three. Cingrani remained untouched until the fifth, but the Reds could not make any progress against Cliff Lee (4-4).
Lee started the rally in that fifth inning when he hit a leadoff single. He hustled to second on a ground ball to third and beat the throw of Todd Frazier. Two batters later Lee rushed home to score on another ground ball, this time off the bat of Chase Utley. Cincinnati had a chance to tie it right back in the sixth when Mesoraco doubled to start the inning, but he would be stranded there. Marlon Byrd then led off the sixth with a solo homer and the runs kept adding on.
Cingrani was gone after the sixth, but Lee still remained in despite being over 100 pitches. It almost proved costly as the Reds would get the tying run on with two outs in the seventh when Mike Adams came on. Adams got Frazier to fly out and end the threat and Reds chance of coming back.
The damage was done in the bottom of the seventh against Manny Parra as he walked two and struck out two before giving up a two out RBI single to Byrd. Unable to escape the seventh unscathed, it only got worse for Parra as Cody Asche ripped a three-run homer into the right field stands to give Philadelphia an 8-2 lead. The Reds would get a run on an error by Utley in the eighth, Antonio Bastardo would retire three of the four Reds hitters he faced in the ninth to secure the win.
Cincinnati stays on the east coast where they could continue using a four-man bench if Joey Votto is not ready to return to the lineup. Votto did not travel with the team and may not be in D.C. when the Reds take on the Nationals (23-20) for a three-game series beginning on Monday when Mike Leake (2-3, 3.09 ERA) takes on Stephen Strasburg (3-3, 3.48 ERA). If the Reds are confident Votto can return this week and avoid being placed on the DL, then he might rejoin the team when the Reds return to Cincinnati for a Memorial Weekend series with the Cardinals.