Jimmy Rollins gets 2,000th hit as Phillies fall to Cincinnati Reds

Posted: September 05, 2012

CINCINNATI - When three Phillies baserunners had nowhere to go and a promising fourth inning died in a game that ended in a 2-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, Charlie Manuel could not scream. He had no clear view of a ball that was ruled a catch but not really one. It happened too quickly; his players were confused.

On a Tuesday night when Kyle Kendrick pitched well enough to win and Jimmy Rollins celebrated his 2,000th hit, these Phillies discovered a new way to lose.

"That's kind of the way everything happens for us," Manuel said, "isn't it?"

Sure enough, two innings after the confusing moment, Jay Bruce swatted a Kendrick change-up for a 344-foot home run that scraped the wall. It was sufficient when it should have merely tied the game.

A loss could not be pinned on Kendrick, who allowed two or fewer runs for the fifth straight start. Nor were the umpires at fault. Instead, an offense was shuttered by Mat Latos, one of the many reasons that Cincinnati boasts the second-best record in all of baseball.

"Most of the time you can win games like that," Kendrick said. "It's just frustrating."

Latos was briefly unhinged in the fourth inning when disorder ensued. He permitted a one-out double to Chase Utley, plunked Ryan Howard, and then walked John Mayberry Jr. and Domonic Brown to force home the game's first run.

The damage should have been greater. Nate Schierholtz skied one to shallow center that Drew Stubbs charged and trapped. Chris Guccione, the first-base umpire, held his fist in the air to signal a catch. Stubbs fired to second, where Mayberry had not yet returned, for the double play. Mayberry raised his arms in bewilderment.

The Reds, equally as confused, threw home, believing they needed one more out because second-base umpire D.J. Reyburn never signaled a catch. The force at home, however, would have been eliminated. No other runner was ever tagged out.

It was not until the bottom of the fourth when a call from the press box to the Cincinnati dugout revealed the umpires' ruling of a catch.

"I'm trying to read it, go halfway, go back," Howard said. "I'm trying to see what happened. I was trying to look in the middle to see if someone was saying something."

Had the correct ruling of no catch been made, Howard would have scored from second on the single. Cincinnati could have recorded the force at second, leaving runners on the corners with two outs.

"That was a bad break," Manuel said.

The lead held until the sixth, when Bruce batted with a runner on first. He swung forcefully at the first Kendrick change-up and missed. "Bruce was swinging through change-ups all night," Kendrick said.

He took the next two pitches, the last being a change-up outside. Kendrick liked the pitch, so he threw it again in almost the same spot.

The swat, in most stadiums not named Great American Ball Park, would fall as a scorched double. Instead, it landed over the wall for a two-run homer, and Kendrick's night ended in defeat. He has a 1.53 ERA in his last five starts; all six runs allowed have scored via home runs.

There was one reason to celebrate in the visiting clubhouse afterward. Rollins stroked a double to right in the fifth for his 2,000th hit. He is the fourth player to accumulate that many while with the Phillies. The other three - Mike Schmidt, Richie Ashburn and Ed Delahanty - are Hall of Famers.

"Jimmy's career speaks for itself," Manuel said.

Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco, two members of the 2,000-hit club that consists of 271 players, presented Rollins with a champagne bottle afterward in the clubhouse. Individual accomplishments, however, suddenly lose meaning in an irredeemable season.

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

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