After being plagued by a lack of timely hitting during a five-game losing streak, the Cincinnati Reds used some clutch offense in their series opener with the Philadelphia Phillies to end their slide.
Cincinnati will look for its order to continue to produce Tuesday night against the Phillies at Great American Ball Park.The Reds (6-7) didn't even make it halfway through April before matching last season's longest skid, which ended with Monday's 4-2 victory over the Phillies (6-7). Cincinnati had been 36 for 162 (.222) at the plate during the skid, including 5 for 41 (.122) with runners in scoring position.But led by Brandon Phillips' go-ahead two-run single in the bottom of the eighth, the club was 3 for 6 in such situations Monday. It was the second time Cincinnati won this season without homering."I was tired of losing," Phillips said. "We're still hungry. You want to go out and stay hungry. If we go out and get the job done and play small ball like we did, we'll be OK."Philadelphia has received excellent performances from the rotation over its last four games, with starters combining for 27 innings while allowing five runs and 16 hits -- but the team split those contests.The bullpen cracked Monday to waste Cliff Lee's showing, as he allowed two runs over seven innings. Reliever Jeremy Horst recorded just one out in the eighth and loaded the bases with an intentional walk of Joey Votto, setting the stage for Phillips."A swinging bat is a dangerous bat," Horst, who gave up a bunt single and a bloop double, told the team's official website. "It was tough."The Phillies' offense has also been stagnant, totaling eight runs over the last four games. Monday's only runs came from Chase Utley's fifth career pinch-hit homer, tying the game at 2 in the top of the eighth.Utley, hitting .292 with three homers and 12 RBIs, received a routine day off from the lineup as Freddy Galvis instead started for the third straight game. Galvis filled in for Michael Young and Jimmy Rollins over the previous two contests and is 4 for 10 in those three starts.They'll try to provide more support behind starter Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 5.40 ERA), who has given up three runs over 12 2/3 innings in his last two starts against the Reds. He had struggled in his first four outings versus Cincinnati, posting a 6.75 ERA.Kendrick limited the Mets to two runs and eight hits in six strong innings in a 7-3 victory Wednesday."I wanted to pitch as deep as I can, battle and make pitches," he said. "I felt like as the game went on, I got more comfortable."Kendrick will be opposed by Homer Bailey (1-1, 5.73), whose two starts have been a mixed bag. Bailey was shelled for seven runs and nine hits -- including three homers -- in a 10-0 loss at St. Louis Wednesday. He had thrown six shutout innings against Washington in his season debut.Bailey hasn't fared well in six starts against Philadelphia, going 0-3 with a 5.29 ERA.Jay Bruce is 5 for 11 with two home runs and a double against Kendrick while Votto is 4 for 10 with a homer and a double.Young has hit safely in six straight games, going 9 for 20 (.450) with four RBIs.