Phillies outlast Reds on Mayberry's single in 11th

Phillies' John Mayberry Jr. celebrates his game winning 11th-inning hit with teammate Erik Kratz against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, August 23, 2012. ( Yong Kim / Staff Photographer )
Phillies' John Mayberry Jr. celebrates his game winning 11th-inning hit with teammate Erik Kratz against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, August 23, 2012. ( Yong Kim / Staff Photographer ) (Daily News/Inquirer)
Posted: August 25, 2012

He had watched 390 pitches in 4 hours and 24 minutes, and now even the wins feel like defeats for Charlie Manuel's Phillies.

The manager plopped into a seat Thursday and issued his customary dramatic reading of the box score following a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in 11 innings. There was a pitching duel that was nothing but, a bunch of sacrifice flies, and a lot of nothing.

"I feel like I've been in a fight and lost," Manuel said.

This marathon was left to the bullpens, a proposition that seriously favored the first-place Reds. They had the best unit in the majors, with a 2.77 ERA entering Thursday. The Phillies relievers fostered a summer of consternation.

Naturally, a John Mayberry Jr. single won it, pushing the Phillies into sole possession of third place in the National League East for the first time since April 12. (The season was six games old that day.)

The Phillies quieted Cincinnati's bats by employing a righty with an 11.88 ERA (B.J. Rosenberg), a 23-year-old Canadian making his debut (Phillippe Aumont), a closer with less-than-special numbers in tie games (Jonathan Papelbon), a former Red just back from paternity leave (Jeremy Horst) and a journeyman lefty (Raul Valdes).

In fairness, the Reds never utilized Aroldis Chapman or Jonathan Broxton, two of the game's top relievers. The game's fate was left to the likes of J.J. Hoover and Alfredo Simon.

It teetered in the ninth and 10th innings when the Phillies squandered myriad chances. They stranded the bases loaded in the ninth when Domonic Brown bounced into a double play. They left two more in scoring position in the 10th when Brian Schneider and Juan Pierre failed.

"I kept waiting for someone to come home," Manuel said.

They finally broke free in the 11th by loading the bases. Mayberry's single through the hole plated Chase Utley.

Their first three runs were scored on sacrifice flies. An offense so limp the night before when Bronson Arroyo required merely 86 pitches in eight innings actually forced the superior Johnny Cueto to sweat. Cueto, the leading Cy Young Award candidate, needed 68 pitches to navigate the first three innings.

The 26-year-old, so in control this season, wavered. He hit a batter, committed a balk, and walked three. With his funky Luis Tiant-like rotation, Cueto lost footing on occasion. He did not record an out in the sixth, making it his shortest outing since July 8.

It was Brown who ultimately chased Cueto on his 111th pitch. Brown swatted an opposite-field double on the eighth pitch of his at-bat and that placed two Phillies in scoring position. He saw 18 pitches in his three at-bats against Cueto.

Hamels, too, appeared discombobulated at times. He at least lasted six innings, but did not miss his usual amount of bats. A potent Cincinnati offense fouled off 28 Hamels pitches, including 14 in the first inning alone.

A stellar Michael Martinez play prevented damage beyond one run. He started for Jimmy Rollins and made a diving stab at a screaming grounder. It saved at least one, maybe two runs. Hamels threw 34 pitches in a slogged first inning.

He was not nearly as lucky in the sixth when Ludwick crushed a change-up off Martinez and into center. It was a difficult play; cleanly fielding it would have resulted in a crucial double play.

Another rocket, this one off the bat of Todd Frazier, slammed off the base of the center-field wall. It then skipped between Laynce Nix's legs, but the two runs scored without benefit of the mistake.

That was the last time Cincinnati scored, a testament to a beleaguered bullpen.


Contact Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @magelb.

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