Sports

Bullpen betrays Cincinnati

PHILADELPHIA - From no hits to no defense.

Reds right fielder Jay Bruce missed a seventh-inning line drive after losing the ball in the lights, allowing two runs to score, and the Philadelphia Phillies took advantage of Cincinnati’s shoddy fielding to earn a 7-4 win Friday night for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five NL division series.

After Roy Halladay threw the second no-hitter in postseason history in Philadelphia’s 4-0 victory Wednesday, the Reds were determined to show their resilience.

Brandon Phillips hit a leadoff homer on Roy Oswalt’s fourth pitch and the Reds built a 4-0 lead before their defense and bullpen unraveled.

“I feel like I let my team down,” Bruce said. “It was in the lights the whole time. I tried to stick with it. It was a pretty helpless feeling.”

The Phillies rallied against hard-throwing rookie Aroldis Chapman and his triple-digit fastball after soft-tossing starter Bronson Arroyo kept Philadelphia’s hitters off balance.

The two-time defending NL champions can close out the series in Game 3 on Sunday night in Cincinnati. Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP, pitches for the Phillies. Johnny Cueto is on the mound for the Reds.

Leading 4-3, the Reds turned to Chapman to protect the slim margin in the seventh. The 22-year-old Cuban came in firing, but he hit Chase Utley with a 101 mph fastball leading off. It wasn’t clear whether the ball grazed Utley’s right forearm, but he didn’t seem shaken.

“I’m not sure,” Utley said when asked if the ball hit him. “At first, I thought it was going to hit me in the head. He throws fast. I felt like it hit me, so I put my head down and ran to first.”

After Ryan Howard struck out, Jayson Werth hit a bouncer to third baseman Scott Rolen. Utley beat the throw to second on a close call. Phillips threw his arms up, and Reds manager Dusty Baker came out to argue briefly.

Jimmy Rollins then hit a liner to right that Bruce turned into a two-base error. The lights were the culprit, Bruce said, not the sea of white-and-red “Fightin’ Phils” rally towels.

The ball rolled past Bruce, and Utley scored the tying run. Werth scored without a play when Phillips dropped the relay throw for another error, and the Phillies took a 5-4 lead.

“It’s embarrassing,” Bruce said. “I take great pride in my defense, but there was nothing I can do about it.”

Raul Ibañez followed with a single, and Carlos Ruiz hit an RBI grounder for a 6-4 lead.

Werth hit an RBI single off Nick Masset in the eighth to cap the scoring.

Jose Contreras threw a perfect seventh inning to earn the victory.

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