By HAL McCOY
The Cincinnati Reds need to check Amazon.com and order those set of mirrors the Philadelphia Phillies are using to win baseball games.
The Phillies are in the same rebuilding mode as the Reds but one would never know it by checking their record and their position in the National League East standings.
They beat the Reds Friday night, 3-2, behind the pitching of Jeremy Hellickson, Hector Neris and closer Jeanmar Gomez.
The Reds lost because they couldn’t hit and their starter, Brandon Finnegan, couldn’t find home plate.
THE PHILLIES LOST their first four games of the season, the first three to the Reds, but since have gone 21-11 and are only 1 ½ games out of first place in the National League East.
How do they do it? The Phillies are last in the National League in hitting with a .226 team average.
The answer? Pitching, pitching, pitching. They are sixth in the league in pitching with a 3.70 earned run average.
IF YOU GET INVOLVED in a close game with the Phillies right now, expect to lose. They are 13-3 in one-run games. Despite being six games over .500 the Phillies have been outscored by 26 runs.
The Reds saw first-hand Friday how the Phillies do it. They didn’t score an earned run off Hellickson on Opening Day in Cincinnati and they didn’t score an earned run off him Friday, either.
In seven innings he gave up two unearned runs, four hits, walked one and struck out nine, all swinging.
Neris pitched a 1-2-3 eighth with a strikeout and closer Gomez hit Joey Votto with a one-out pitch but Brandon Phillips hit into a game-ending double play. That gave Gomez another save, his league-leading 14th in 15 opportunities.
THE REDS SCORED two runs in the second inning with two outs and nobody on. Adam Duvall, who had two of the Reds four hits, doubled and Tyler Holt beat an infield single.
Tucker Barnhart hit a fly ball to left field that bounced off Tyler Goeddel’s glove for an error and two runs scored.
Goeddel, though, made amends.
Reds starter Finnegan was in a walking mood, five for the night in only four innings and two walks in the fourth cost him deeply and dearly.
He walked Carlos Ruiz and Tommy Joseph. Goeddel made up for his two-run error by drilling a two-run triple to right to tie it, 2-2.
Hellickson then won the game for himself by dropping a suicide squeeze to score Goeddel.
“They didn’t beat me, I beat myself,” Finnegan said in his post-game interview to writers and FoxOhio TV.
The Reds didn’t have a hit after Duvall’s single in the fourth. And 12 in a row made outs until Votto was hit by a pitch with one out in the ninth.
The Milwaukee Brewers beat San Diego, 1-0, dropping the Reds back into personal possession of last place in the National League Central, 12 ½ games behind the Chicago Cubs.
THE GAME WAS managed by bench coach Jim Riggleman because manager Bryan Price was perched in a press box seat serving his one-game suspension.
The suspension came because it was determined by MLB that Ross Ohlendorf hit Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison on purpose Wednesday night. Ohlendorf was suspended three games but is appealing so he remains eligible until his hearing.
Billy Hamilton was missing and won’t play in the Philadelphia series because he is on bereavement leave after a death in the family.