CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Phillies knew they couldn't lose this one.
It took their biggest comeback of the season to pull it out.
David Bell completed Philadelphia's last-swing comeback, hitting
a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning Friday night for a
pulsating 11-10 victory over the Cincinnati Reds that tightened the
NL playoff race.
The Phillies took the field after Houston lost, providing a
chance to close in on the first-place Astros in the wild-card race.
The Phillies wasted a five-run lead and, until the ninth, looked
like they were going to waste their chance to gain ground as well.
"We knew Houston had lost today," said Chase Utley, who keyed
the winning rally with a three-run homer. "We wanted to get it,
and somehow we did."
The two homers pulled it out and moved Philadelphia one game
behind Houston for the wild card with eight to play. The Phillies
remained four games behind NL East-leading Atlanta.
Utley's three-run shot, his second homer of the game, off David
Weathers (7-4) cut it to 10-9 and got the Phillies believing. After
Weathers got two strikeouts, Ryan Howard walked and the Phillies
became entranced as Bell worked the count full before hitting his
"I was on the top step," Utley said. "I had a good feeling."
A dozen Phillies spilled out of the dugout and mobbed Bell on
the field, reveling in a potential season-saving win. The Phillies
scored 10 runs in the ninth inning for a 10-2 win over Florida last
Saturday, but this one was much more improbable.
"I hope there will be a couple more, too," said Bell, who grew
up in Cincinnati and had relatives in the stands. "There have been
a few big games this month."
Both teams hit four homers, matching the record for a game
during Great American Ball Park's three seasons. The Reds' came
early, the Phillies' at the last moment.
"Some crazy stuff has happened," said Austin Kearns, who had
one of Cincinnati's four homers. "It's been a long year."
Cincinnati's 82nd loss clinched a fifth straight losing season,
the Reds' longest such streak since 1945-55.
Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies extended his hitting streak to 28
games in his first at-bat, getting the majors' hottest offense
rolling. By the fifth inning, the lead was 6-1 and the Phillies
appeared to be in control.
Then, they collapsed.
Felipe Lopez's bases-loaded single helped the Reds cut it to 6-5
and knock out starter Vicente Padilla in the fifth inning. Jacob
Cruz led off the sixth with a tying homer, and Jason LaRue's third
career pinch-hit homer -- a two-run shot -- gave the Reds their first
lead in a game that came down to which bullpen could hold on.
Kearns hit his career-high 16th homer and Ray Olmedo followed
with the first of his career off Aquilino Lopez in the seventh,
when all the stunned Phillies could do was watch as the Reds' lead
jumped to 10-6.
Then, they pulled off a stunner of their own.
"I've seen a lot of things," manager Charlie Manuel marveled.
"You never know when it ends."
Philadelphia's offense has sizzled in September, scoring more
runs than any team in the majors. Rollins has been the constant,
compiling the longest hitting streak in the NL this season and the
longest by a Phillies player since 1899.
Howard hit his 20th homer -- the most by an NL rookie -- and Utley
had an RBI double and solo homer, helping the Phillies take the
early lead. Reds starter Aaron Harang lasted only five innings,
giving up a career-high 11 hits and six runs.
Ed Delahanty hit safely in 31 in a row for the Phillies in
1899. ... Howard's 20 homers are the most by a Phillies rookie
since Scott Rolen hit 21 in 1997. ... The five RBI by Utley
matched his career high. ... Manuel, outfielder Bobby Abreu and
pitcher Brett Myers were ejected by plate umpire Mike Everitt for
arguing a called third strike in the ninth. ... It was LaRue's
second pinch-hit homer this month. The other was Sept. 4 at
Atlanta. ... Harang became the first Reds pitcher to throw 200
innings in a season since Elmer Dessens in 2001.