Roy 2 fell short, but Reds' sloppiness boosted Phils

Reds third baseman Scott Rolen botches Placido Polanco's grounder to keep the Phillies' fifth inning alive. The error was one of the Reds' four on the night.
Reds third baseman Scott Rolen botches Placido Polanco's grounder to keep the Phillies' fifth inning alive. The error was one of the Reds' four on the night.
Posted: October 09, 2010

Roy Oswalt had the misfortune of following Roy Halladay to the mound in Game 2 of the Phillies' National League division series with the Cincinnati Reds.

That's like following Abraham Lincoln into the White House. No matter what Roy 2 did, it was not going to compare to the performance of Roy 1 in Game 1.

One batter into Roy 2's outing, the suspense of a second straight no-hitter was gone, and the Phillies were behind by a run to the Cincinnati Reds.

Roy 2's night became forgettable, but the overall evening ended up another indelible memory during the most incredible era in Phillies history.

After falling behind, 4-0, in the top of the fifth inning, the Phillies rallied with seven unanswered - and five unearned - runs for a 7-4 victory that pushed them within a win of the National League Championship Series.

Here is a look at some of the crucial moments in the Phillies' 10th come-from-behind postseason win in the last three years:

Cincinnati's Big Four. The Phillies have their Big Three with Halladay, Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, but it was Cincinnati's four big errors that made this unlikely victory possible.

A National League scout said during the last week of the season that one of the things he notices about the Phillies is that if you make an error, they make you pay.

The Reds made two miscues with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, and Chase Utley made them pay while also earning redemption for two second-inning throwing errors that led to Cincinnati's second run.

The second of Cincinnati's errors in the fifth was made by Scott Rolen, who botched Placido Polanco's routine grounder to keep the inning alive. Rolen, as Phillies fans know, may be the best fielding third baseman in the game's history and has seven Gold Gloves to support the argument.

But this time he opened the door, and Utley worked the count in his favor before lining a 2-1 floating change-up from Bronson Arroyo into right field for a two-run single. That hit got the Phillies and the sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park back into the game.

The Reds allowed the Phillies to creep a little closer in the sixth when they surrendered a run without giving up a hit. Two walks and two hit batters accounted for the run, which also had an assist from the fans.

After righthander Logan Ondrusek hit pinch-hitter Ben Francisco to load the bases, the decibel level at the Bank rose, and the Reds' shaken rookie pitcher walked Shane Victorino to force in the Phillies' third run.

That set up the Phillies' three-run seventh inning, which included two errors on one play that accounted for the tying and go-ahead runs. The first error was made by rightfielder Jay Bruce, who appeared to lose a line drive off Jimmy Rollins' bat and let it get past him and roll to the wall. That let Utley score the tying run. Jayson Werth crossed the plate with the go-ahead run when second baseman Brandon Phillips dropped the ball trying to throw home.

That seventh-inning sequence also included another hit batter and a play that was as costly as an error even though it could not be ruled one. With the Phillies facing a steady diet of 100-m.p.h. fastballs from lefthander Aroldis Chapman, Utley became the third Phillies batter of the night to be hit by a pitch, although this one did not hurt at all.

Two batters later, Utley beat a throw from Rolen to second base, and Bruce's error came moments later.

"We've come back from some huge deficits this year," Phillies closer Brad Lidge said. "Looking at the poise and ability of our veteran players, they want to be in that situation, and they know they can come back from anything. Obviously, there were some mistakes made on the other side, too. But if they give an inch, we take a mile."

Roy 2's story. The Phillies had blanked the Reds for 30 straight innings at their home ballpark, winning a pair of 1-0 games just before the all-star break and the 4-0 masterpiece by Halladay in Game 1 of this series.

Then Phillips, who drew the ire of the rival St. Louis Cardinals with some unflattering remarks earlier this season, stepped to the plate and gave Cincinnati some of its swagger back.

In a sign of things to come for Oswalt, the Phillies righthander left a 2-1 slider over the middle of the plate, and Phillips turned on the pitch and deposited it in the left-field seats, ending Cincinnati's scoring drought.

More trouble for Roy 2 in the second. The Reds' second-inning run off Oswalt was unearned because of two throwing errors by Utley, who seemed to encounter the same throwing problems that troubled him during the first two games of the Phillies' National League Championship Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers last year.

That the run was unearned, however, could not disguise Oswalt's command problems. The righthander needed 25 pitches to get through the second inning, and he bounced three of those pitches - two curveballs and a change-up - in the dirt.

Still, Oswalt would have been out of the inning if not for Utley's wild throw to first base and what should have been an inning-ending double play off catcher Ryan Hanigan's bat.

Oswalt, who allowed four runs on five hits in five innings, said he felt rusty after going nine days between starts.

"It was about feel," Oswalt said. "Once I got into the fourth inning, after I made a bad pitch to Bruce [for a home run], I actually felt pretty good after that."

Roy 2's only scoreless inning. For all his problems in his first postseason start since Game 3 of the 2005 World Series, it could have been worse for Oswalt.

Phillips and Orlando Cabrera opened the third inning with consecutive singles, leaving Roy 2 to face the heart of the Reds' order with two on and nobody out. Oswalt escaped the inning by getting Joey Votto to fly out on a 2-2 fastball before registering strikeouts on Rolen and Laynce Nix. He sat down Rolen with a change-up and Nix with a 94-m.p.h. fastball.

When will the payback come? Hanigan was fortunate that the Phillies did not have a big inning after two Phillies batters - Carlos Ruiz and Francisco - were hit by pitches in the bottom of the sixth inning.

If the Phillies had a big lead, Hanigan would have certainly taken a pitch to the side from reliever Jose Contreras as retribution for the Phillies' two hitters being drilled. Ruiz took a fastball off the kneecap from lefthander Arthur Rhodes, and Francisco took an Ondruskek fastball off the brim of his helmet.

Rest assured that at some point in Cincinnati a Reds hitter will feel the pain.


Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or bbrookover@phillynews.com.

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