The Phillies entered Saturday's game against the Reds having scored the third-fewest runs in the Majors (144). Then manager Ryne Sandberg shuffled the lineup to see if he could get something going, and the Phillies responded by beating Cincinnati, 12-1.
"A lineup creates scoring opportunities, then it comes down to execution and a big at-bat and a swing to drive in one run or maybe two or three," Sandberg said before Saturday's game. "That's the one punch that we want to see. That's what we need to get us over the hump and get us going. There are multiple guys in the lineup that could be that guy. I don't think it's one person."
Sandberg moved Cody Asche from eighth to sixth in the lineup, and moved Domonic Brown from sixth to seventh. Both made significant contributions in Saturday's win. Asche was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, while Brown was 2-for-5 with a long two-run homer and a bases-clearing double for a career-high five RBIs.
While Philadelphia's offense awakened Saturday, it faces a left-hander on Sunday who was strong in his rookie campaign of 2013 and is coming off the disabled list looking forward to facing the Phils at Citizens Bank Park.
Twenty-four-year-old Tony Cingrani hasn't started since April 30, due to tendinitis in his left shoulder. But he says that not only does he feel ready, he's looking forward to facing the Phils.
"I'm fine," Cingrani said Wednesday. "I can't wait to go out there and pitch against the Phillies. I pitched against them last time and [we] lost at Citizens Bank Park. It should be pretty good to get out there and face them again."
Cingrani allowed three runs on five hits in five innings against the Phillies on May 17 last season, as the Reds lost, 5-3.
Philadelphia is slated to send veteran southpaw Cliff Lee to the hill to try and win the three-game series. Lee is winless in his last four starts, though he did not allow an earned run in his last outing Tuesday against the Angels.
Reds: Soto expected to start at first base Sunday
With Joey Votto unable to play due to a strained left quadriceps, the Reds have had both Brayan Pena and Neftali Soto play first base in the first two games in Philadelphia. Manager Bryan Price said Saturday that he expects to start Soto again at first on Sunday when Cincinnati faces the left-hander Lee.
"He's historically hit left-handed pitching well," Price said of Soto. "We've got a couple of left-handed pitchers coming up here in [Cole] Hamels and Cliff Lee. He's going to get some opportunity."
Soto went 1-for-3 with a single Saturday, and is hitting .150 (3-for-20) on the season.
Phillies: Hernandez pitching well out of the bullpen
After skipping his last start and bringing him in out of the bullpen this past week, the Phillies have gotten some good innings from right-hander Roberto Hernandez. In two relief appearances, both in the ninth inning, Hernandez combined to toss 1 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits, walking one and striking out two.
Hernandez could become a fixture in the bullpen, but the Phillies don't have a replacement for him in the starting rotation, as right-hander Jonathan Pettibone is still experiencing discomfort in his pitching shoulder and has been placed on the disabled list.
• A win over the Phillies in the series finale Sunday would give Cincinnati its first series win at Citizens Bank Park since August 2006.
• The Phillies' six-run fourth inning on Saturday snapped a 23-inning scoreless streak. Brown's two-run homer in that inning was just his second home run since Aug. 14, 2013.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.