CINCINNATI -- Bases loaded, no outs. The Colorado Rockies sensed it was their chance to not only pull even but put it away.
Arthur Rhodes wasn't about to let that happen.The left-hander pitched out of the eighth-inning threat by retiring the top of the Rockies' order, preserving the Cincinnati Reds' 3-2 win on Friday night in their long-awaited return home.The NL Central leaders hadn't played a game at Great American Ball Park all month and had dropped five of their last six on the road. Two of their four All-Stars got them back to winning."It kind of gets you off on the right foot for the second half," Bronson Arroyo said.Arroyo (10-4) watched the game's best drama play out. He gave up a solo homer by Miguel Olivo that was upheld after a review and cut it to 3-2 to open the eighth. Then, he gave up a walk and a single.Rhodes, who made the All-Star roster for the first time in his 19 seasons, came on and walked Ryan Spilborghs to load the bases -- the pinch-hitter lost track of the count and had to be coaxed to first base. Rhodes then retired Dexter Fowler on a shallow fly and struck out Jonathan Herrera and Carlos Gonzalez while the crowd of 37,188 stood and screamed."With the bases loaded and two outs, you get a little hyped up," Rhodes said. "The crowd was behind me."The Rockies knew they'd wasted their chance."Actually, we put ourselves in a wonderful position to steal that game," manager Jim Tracy said.Francisco Cordero gave up a walk in the ninth before getting his 25th save in 31 tries.Brandon Phillips, also fresh off his first All-Star game, scored twice and had three hits off Jason Hammel (7-4), who had won his last six decisions. Hammel struck out a career-high 10 batters."I needed a break," Phillips said. "I only missed one game in the first half. I feel like I'm getting my legs back. I felt like Superman out there."The victory was a breakthrough for Cincinnati, which had lost its last nine games against Colorado and is 4-16 against the Rockies since 2007.Colorado went into the All-Star break on its best tear of the season, winning eight of 10 behind a streaking offense. Arroyo allowed only an infield single through the first six innings on a muggy, 88-degree night. Jason Giambi doubled home a run in the seventh and Olivo led off the eighth with a homer that was caught by a fan in the first row in left field.Reds manager Dusty Baker asked for a review to see if the fan interfered. Plate umpire Tom Hallion upheld the call.The Reds emerged from the All-Star break in first place in the NL Central, the first time that's happened since 1999, when they came up just short in a playoff bid. They lost a one-game tiebreaker to the Mets for the NL wild card.The Reds also were in a scoring slump, having been shut out over their last two games. The streak ended at 23 scoreless innings when Cincinnati scored a pair of runs in the third, which Phillips opened with a double.Fowler made the best defensive play of the game, stretching above the wall in center to steal a three-run homer from Jay Bruce in the fifth inning."That was one of the better plays I've ever seen," Hammel said. "I thought it was leaving the yard. It was an unreal play."
Reds OF Chris Dickerson started his second rehab stint in the minors. Dickerson had surgery on his right hand and wrist in May. ... MC Hammer performed during the game and helped Baker present the lineup card to the umpires. Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" was the Reds' theme song in 1990, when they won the World Series. The Reds are honoring that team this weekend. Relief pitchers Norm Charlton and Randy Myers -- part of the "Nasty Boys" bullpen -- threw out ceremonial pitches.