Created on Saturday, 11 May 2013 Written by JOE KAY,AP Baseball Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) — Brandon Phillips grabbed the bouncing ball with his bare hand, tagged second base with his left knee as he fell and threw to first to complete a double play that immediately drew raves.
Might have saved the game, too.
Phillips homered and made the spectacular play to protect the lead in the seventh inning Friday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
He drove in a pair of runs with a single and a homer, but it was that unusual play on Ryan Braun's hard-to-handle grounder up the middle with two runners aboard in the seventh that had everyone talking — and the Brewers talking to themselves.
"Phillips — we've seen him make some great plays," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I didn't think Braun was going to hit into a double play, and Phillips makes another highlight play."
Phillips had an RBI single off Yovani Gallardo (3-2) and added a solo homer in the seventh after making a saving play in the top of the inning on Braun's grounder.
"I made a nice play, I don't know how," Phillips said. "I gambled on it. I took a chance on making it without my glove, and I made the play.
"I practice the short hops, but I've never had a bag to worry about. I've touched the bag with my knees plenty of times."
This time, he may have changed the outcome of a game with one knee.
"That's the best double play I've seen from a second baseman," manager Dusty Baker said. "That was a game-saver, too. If he doesn't turn it, we could be in trouble. They had some dangerous guys coming up."
The Reds won for the fifth time in seven games. Cincinnati is 14-6 at Great American Ball Park, the most home wins in the majors and its best start at home since the Reds went 15-5 in 1994.
Milwaukee got solo homers from Jean Segura and Braun, but lost for the seventh time in eight games.
Alfredo Simon (3-1) threw two innings in relief of rookie left-hander Tony Cingrani. Aroldis Chapman gave up a run on a wild pitch in the ninth while getting his eighth save in as many chances.
Carlos Gomez went 0 for 4 and grounded into a double play, ending his hitting streak at a career-best 14 games.
Neither Gallardo nor Cingrani lasted more than four innings on a wet night, testing both bullpens' depth. Both were stingy, but Cincinnati's had a one-run lead to hold. Reds relievers allowed three hits and four walks in five innings.
The Brewers gave up eight hits and nine walks.
The Reds pulled ahead 2-0 in the third on Phillips' two-out RBI single and Jay Bruce's double off the glove of Norichika Aoki in right field. Bruce improved to .419 against Gallardo.
Zack Cozart's RBI single in the fourth put the Reds up 3-2. Gallardo gave up five hits and five walks in his four innings, throwing 100 pitches.
"Normally I try to take something positive out of every one I have, but there's nothing to take out of this one," Gallardo said.
Cingrani has relied on his fastball to retire batters, getting a lot of strikeouts while piling up high pitch counts. He's also given up a lot of homers — six in five starts, tied with Bronson Arroyo for the team lead.
Segura led off the fourth with a homer that barely eluded the top of Bruce's glove in right field and bounced off the top of the wall before continuing into the stands. Braun also homered to right field on the next pitch, giving him eight overall and a season-high 11-game hitting streak.
Cingrani lasted only four innings, giving up five hits and two walks while throwing 85 pitches. It was the third time in the Reds' last four games that their starter lasted five innings or less.
The Reds activated catcher Ryan Hanigan off the disabled list before the series opener. Hanigan, the Reds' best defensive catcher, had been sidelined since April 21 by a strained left oblique. Hanigan had a pair of singles and made a diving catch behind the plate on Segura's sacrifice bunt attempt.
NOTES: Steady rain fell through the early innings. .... The Reds designated C Corky Miller for assignment, opening a roster spot. ... OF Chris Heisey is expected to start a rehab assignment soon. He's been sidelined since April 29 by a pulled right hamstring. ... Cingrani picked Aoki off first base in the third inning. Aoki reached in all five plate appearances. ... RH Hiram Burgos (1-0) starts Saturday against the Reds, who go with Mat Latos (3-0).