Phillips, Reynolds lead Reds past Rockies 8-3
DENVER (AP) — Greg Reynolds’ previous struggles at Coors Field played a part in his successful return.
Brandon Phillips tripled, homered and doubled in his first three at-bats, Reynolds beat his former team for his first major league win in two years, and the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Colorado Rockies 8-3 on Saturday night.
Making his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Louisville to fill in for injured Tony Cingrani, Reynolds (1-2) allowed three runs on seven hits over eight innings in his first career start against his old team. Reynolds was a first-round draft pick by Colorado in 2006 but was traded to Texas two years ago after a series of rough outings, especially at Coors Field.
“I hadn’t done particularly well here,” he said. “I learned what not to do, but I was definitely more comfortable coming out here now. I feel I’m a better pitcher now than I was before. I think that kind of showed today.”
Reynolds struck out five, including three in the seventh, and walked none in his first big league win since July 2, 2011, against Kansas City for the Rockies. The eight innings represented the longest outing of his career.
“To go out there and eat up some innings and give our bullpen a little bit of a rest was big,” Reynolds said. “I just tried to let the whole coming back to Coors Field not even factor in.”
Phillips helped put Reynolds at ease with a big night at the plate. The All-Star second baseman scored three runs, drove in two and just missed becoming the first Reds player to hit for the cycle since Eric Davis did it against the San Diego Padres on June 2, 1989.
Phillips struck out and grounded sharply to third in his last two at-bats.
“It would have been nice to get it done, but tonight was all about Reynolds,” Phillips said. “He pitched his butt off. I’m happy for him to go eight innings like that. We needed this win and for him to go out and pitch lights out, he kept us in the game. He kept the ball down and I’m very proud of him.”
Phillips, whose two RBIs gave him a career-best 99 on the season, began the night with an RBI triple that rolled to the center-field wall. He scored on Joey Votto’s groundout.
Phillips also connected in the third off Juan Nicasio for his 17th home run, then doubled to left in the fifth and scored.
Colorado’s Todd Helton remained one hit shy of 2,500, going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts a night after homering twice and matching a career high with six RBIs.
“You can be great one game and have the hat trick the next,” Helton said.
The Reds, leading 3-0, added three more runs in the fifth.
Shin-Soo Choo, who had three hits, singled to start the inning and Phillips doubled, his third extra-base hit of the game.
Nicasio (8-7), who had pitched erratically throughout his outing, intentionally walked Jay Bruce to load the bases with one out in the fifth and was relieved by Wilton Lopez.
Lopez, though, was charged with a balk before he threw his first pitch, advancing all three runners, including Choo, who trotted home. Ryan Ludwick then singled for the third time, scoring both Phillips and Bruce to put the Reds up by six.
The Rockies scored in the bottom half on pinch-hitter Jordan Pacheco’s RBI double, but the Reds responded with another run in the sixth. Reynolds doubled over the head of left fielder Corey Dickerson and went to third on Choo’s single. Phillips struck out before Votto singled up the middle to score Reynolds.
Choo added an RBI double in the eighth.
Dickerson homered in the eighth, a two-run shot off Reynolds that reached the right-field seats.
Still, the Reds received a huge lift from Reynolds.
“He has added the cutter. He threw it well and was able to keep it from out over the plate,” Colorado center fielder Charlie Blackmon said.
NOTES: Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (right elbow inflammation) was set to be activated from the 15-day disabled list to start Sunday’s series finale against RHP Mike Leake (11-5). ... The balk by Lopez was his third of the season, tying him with Rockies reliever Rex Brothers and former Rockies reliever Edgmer Escalona for the NL lead. ... Phillips had 98 RBIs in 2009.