CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Reds will be packing their bags for their first playoff game in 15 years.
Casey McGehee hit a grounder that caromed off second baseman Brandon Phillips in the 11th inning, driving in Corey Hart and sending the Milwaukee Brewers to a 4-3 victory Friday night that ensured Cincinnati will begin the postseason on the road.With one out and runners on the corners, McGehee hit a bouncer up the middle off Jordan Smith that went off Phillips' chest and into short center field. Hart scampered home to give Milwaukee a 4-3 lead.Phillips said he was screened by second base umpire Mike DiMuro. It was ruled an error but then changed to a hit by the official scorer after the game."Once I saw it, it was almost past me," said Phillips, the 2008 Gold Glove winner. "I still almost caught it. It's something that just happened."Manager Dusty Baker figured something odd happened."Brandon makes that play 99 times out of a hundred," Baker said.The NL Central champion Reds needed a win to maintain any hope of finishing the regular season with the second-best record among the league's three division champions. Now, Cincinnati will open its first playoff series since 1995 at top-seeded Philadelphia or the winner of the West.Mike McClendon (2-0) pitched a perfect 10th to get the win and John Axford finished for his 24th save in 27 opportunities. Axford struck out Jonny Gomes with runners on first and second to end the game.Travis Wood pitched 6 1/3 innings to bolster his chance of making Cincinnati's postseason rotation. He allowed three runs and three hits.Rickie Weeks hit a one-out drive to center in the sixth for Milwaukee's first hit, cutting Cincinnati's lead to 2-1. It was Weeks' 29th homer.Drew Stubbs tripled and scored on Phillips' sacrifice fly in the sixth, but the Brewers tied it with two runs in the seventh.McGehee doubled with one out and Lorenzo Cain followed with a single, moving McGehee to third and chasing Wood. Pinch-hitter Craig Counsell greeted Logan Ondrusek with a run-scoring single and Jonathan Lucroy added a tying sacrifice fly.Sam LeCure (2-5) started the 11th for the Reds and allowed both of his batters to reach. It was only his second appearance since Sept. 22.Baker, who said before the game he needed to get some innings for some of his relievers before the postseason, ended up using eight of them."They've been doing a great job," he said, pointing out that Ryan Braun's walk against Nick Masset in the eighth was the first allowed by the Reds bullpen in a combined 10 1/3 innings. "Some of those guys needed some work, so that part of the mission was accomplished."Mark Rogers pitched five innings for Milwaukee, yielding two runs and two hits. He also struck out six and walked none."Rogers had a pretty impressive outing," Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said. "He only gave up two hits. He just needs to pitch. He has good velocity and hides the ball very well. He's confident in his stuff."Gomes singled with one out in the fifth for Cincinnati's first hit. He stole second, moved to third on Ramon Hernandez's infield hit and scored on Paul Janish's suicide squeeze to give the Reds a 2-0 lead.The Reds grabbed the lead in the first, manufacturing the first run allowed by Rogers in six innings over four appearances since being promoted from Double-A Huntsville on Sept. 10. Stubbs drew a leadoff walk, stole second and moved to third on Phillips' groundout before Joey Votto hit a sacrifice fly.Rogers' strong outing will send the rookie into the offseason on a high note."It was great," he said. "It was a lot of fun. I felt more confident this time. I had a better idea of what to expect. I'm happy. I gave my team a chance to win."
The Reds might send some players who don't make the division series roster to Arizona to stay sharp in case they're needed to replace injured players or for subsequent series, Baker said before the game. ... Weeks was hit by a pitch for the 25th time, tying Fernando Vina for the single-season franchise record. Vina set the record in 1998. ... Prince Fielder's fourth-inning walk for Milwaukee was his 111th of the season, breaking the franchise record he set in 2009 ... The Reds are 5,204 fans short of reaching two million in paid attendance for the 22nd time in franchise history and second in the last three seasons. They topped two million in 2008. ... Milwaukee left-hander Zach Braddock broke his left pinkie finger while shagging balls in the outfield during batting practice.