10/08/10 10:03 PM ET
Red E for prime time: Phils win episode of Lost
Two Cincy miscues in seventh bring home tying, go-ahead runs
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
So how would the Phillies describe Game 2?
"It was just a weird, weird, awkward day," Ryan Howard said following Friday's 7-4 victory over the Reds at Citizens Bank Park, which handed the Phils a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
"It was unusual," Brad Lidge added.
It was a remarkable collapse for the Reds, who tied the Padres for the fewest errors (72) in the league this season. The Reds committed four errors, which led to five unearned runs as they blew a fifth-inning, 4-0 lead. The Phillies head to Cincinnati to play Game 3 on Sunday (7 p.m. ET, TNT and Postgame.TV) at Great American Ball Park knowing teams with a 2-0 lead in the Division Series are 33-4 since postseason expansion in 1995.
The Reds could use a day to recover. They looked shell-shocked Friday.
"I think things like that can happen to anybody, but I think with our experience, we really don't let it happen to us very often," Lidge said. "Obviously, a lot of guys on that team are in the postseason for the first time in their career. A little different adrenaline. A little different atmosphere. I think fortunately for us, we have the experience of playing in just about every postseason situation there is over the last couple years.
"So, yeah, I think it would be very rare for us to make mistakes like that."
Mistakes killed the Reds.
Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen committed back-to-back errors in the fifth to allow Chase Utley to hit a two-out single to right field to score two runs to make it 4-2. Reds pitchers allowed the Phillies to make it 4-3 in the sixth. Bronson Arroyo walked Jayson Werth to start the inning. Arthur Rhodes hit Carlos Ruiz with a pitch on the left knee to put runners on first and second with two outs. Logan Ondrusek then hit pinch-hitter Ben Francisco in the bill of his helmet to load the bases.
"Scared and dazed, but I'm all right," Francisco said.
Ondrusek walked Shane Victorino to score a run to make it 4-3.
But that was nothing compared to what happened in the seventh.
Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman opened the inning with enough hype that Phillies fans knew immediately to check out the radar gun reading in right field. They "oohed" when the first pitch to Utley hit 100 mph.
They roared when a 101-mph fastball hit Utley to put him on first base.
But wait a second. Did that pitch actually hit him?
"I'm not sure," Utley said coyly. "It was pretty close. At first I thought it was going to hit me in my head. Fortunately, it didn't. And he throws so hard. I felt like I thought it hit me, so I put my head down and I ran to first."
"I don't think at any time that the ball hit him," Chapman said through an interpreter. "I don't think he ever got hit."
"Whether it hit him first or not, I couldn't tell," Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan said. "It wasn't obvious, I can tell you that."
Instant replay did not show the pitch clearly hitting Utley anywhere.
How bad was he hit?
"Bad enough to take his base," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said.
Werth followed and bounced a ball to Rolen, who threw to second for the forceout. Second-base umpire Ed Rapuano said Utley beat the throw with his slide. Reds manager Dusty Baker argued briefly, but to no avail.
"From where I was, he looked like he was out," Baker said.
Then the Reds completed an epic collapse.
Jimmy Rollins hit a routine line drive to right fielder Jay Bruce. It should have been the second out, but Bruce completely whiffed. The ball sailed past him. Center fielder Drew Stubbs pursued the ball as Utley, who was returning to second, reversed course and chugged around third and scored. Werth also scored, thanks to Phillips dropping the relay throw from Stubbs.
The Phillies had a 5-4 lead with Rollins on second.
"It's embarrassing," Bruce said. "It was in the lights. I know they're exceptionally bright. Other than that, I've never had another ball get lost in them."
Utley might have missed third base before he scored, but Baker said he heard about it too late.
"I was watching the ball," Baker said. "I was watching Jay. Then I was watching the cutoff and relay situation, and you can't watch everything. It was too late when I heard about it to appeal."
To recap Utley's trip around the bases: He might or might not have been hit by a pitch. He might or might not have been out at second base. He might or might not have touched third base on his way to home plate.
But he definitely scored.
"It was a little hectic. I'm not going to lie," Utley said. "I kind of lost my legs coming around third, but, again, it worked out for the best."
Raul Ibanez singled to center to put runners at the corners. Ruiz then grounded into a fielder's choice to give the Phils an insurance run.
Phillies fans went crazy.
The Reds looked stunned.
They had gift-wrapped a Philadelphia comeback.
It started so well for them. Phillips crushed the third pitch from Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt into the left-field stands in the first inning to give them a quick 1-0 lead. The Reds took a 2-0 lead in the second thanks to a couple errors from Utley. It was the third time in his career Utley had two errors of any kind in the same inning.
Oswalt allowed five hits and four runs in five innings.
He has pitched better. The Reds have played better, but to come back and beat the Phillies in this series they will have to play their best baseball of the season.
They probably played their worst Friday.
They lost it in the lights, and it might have cost them the series.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.