Pittsburgh ran itself out of a rally in the eighth inning, and the Reds made the Pirates pay for it in the ninth, taking advantage of a rare off night by closer Joel Hanrahan to grab an 11-8 victory Friday night.
Joey Votto hit his 21st homer of the season and later scored the game-winning run as the Reds beat the Pirates for just the third time in 10 tries this season.
"The way it kept going back and forth, it was like a tennis match out there," Phillips said. "I'm just glad we came out on top."
It was a wild end to an eventful day for Cincinnati. Storms knocked out the electricity at the team's hotel on Thursday night, rattling the normally unflappable Phillips.
"It was crazy when we first got in," Phillips said. "You're going to a hotel where you have no AC and no lights. I could have sworn somebody was in my room at one point. I'm not going to lie to you, I was scared."
Travis Wood (6-5) picked up the win in relief, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth when center fielder Drew Stubbs threw out Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen, who attempted to score from third on a shallow fly by Ryan Ludwick.
""Stubby saved the game," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "That's one of best center fielders around right there. He gets good reads and breaks on balls and he gunned down one of the quickest men in this league."
Francisco Cordero pitched a perfect ninth inning to collect his 25th save.
Brandon Wood broke out of a lengthy slump, going 2 for 3 with three RBIs for Pittsburgh. McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Jose Tabata and Ronny Cedeno also had two hits apiece for the Pirates but Pittsburgh made outs at the plate twice in the eighth.
"We kept fighting, we kept scratching and clawing," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle, who was ejected in the fifth for arguing balls and strikes. "We kept finding a way to get back in it to tie it up. We were one punch away from creating some serious separation."
Hanrahan, in the midst of a dominant year, issued a rare leadoff walk to Votto to start the inning. Votto moved to third on a one-out single by Dave Sappelt. Stubbs followed with a chopper to second. Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker tried to get Votto at the plate but the ball deflected off catcher Ryan Doumit's glove. Votto slapped the plate for emphasis and Sappelt and Stubbs both moved up a base as the ball rolled to the backstop.
"It just boils down to a leadoff walk right there," Hanrahan said. "You can't have that in a situation like that. You've got to get the first out and go from there."
Hanigan followed with a sharp single up the middle to provide the final margin and chase Hanrahan, who stalked to the dugout after the worst outing of his All-Star season.
Cincinnati's late surge spoiled a furious rally by the Pirates, who trailed 6-2 after Phillips drilled a three-run homer to left in the fifth.
Pittsburgh started chopping away after Hurdle was tossed for the third time this season for arguing with home plate umpire Brian Knight moments after Jones was called out on strikes.
Hurdle, who was well out of eyesight in the dugout when Knight tossed him, appeared to be a little stunned by the early exit. He walked onto the field and engaged in an animated discussion with Knight before crew chief Jerry Layne came in to calm things down.
Hurdle's passionate plea seemed to spark his club as the Pirates slowly got back in it as Cincinnati's bullpen faltered following starter Homer Bailey.
Bailey gave up three runs and six hits in five innings, walking three and striking out six. He needed 96 pitches to get 15 outs but the Reds appeared to have things well in hand with a 6-3 lead.
"It was a pretty bad outing," Bailey said. "We've seen these guys a lot. I've had success against them in the past, so I should have done better than that. We had a good game plan in place and I didn't execute very well. Luckily, we were still able to win."
Pittsburgh's rally allowed Kevin Correia to avoid picking up his first-ever loss against the Reds as a starter. Still, he was far from sharp, giving up six runs and eight hits -- including three home runs -- in six innings, walking one and striking out one to continue his Jekyll-and-Hyde season.
Correia is among the best starters in the baseball on the road. His 10 victories away from home lead the majors.
Things don't go quite so well when he starts the day waking up in his own bed. His ERA rose to 7.75 in his 12 games on the hill at the quirky ballpark along the Allegheny River.
"I still don't believe it's a home and road thing," Correia said. "I'm completely comfortable throwing the ball here. I've pitched well in the majority of my starts but I've had too many big innings."
The game started after a 41-minute rain delay. ... Wood snapped an 0-for-18 slump with a single to lead off the sixth. ... The series continues on Saturday. Charlie Morton (9-6, 3.43 ERA) gets the start for Pittsburgh. Morton is 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA against the Reds this year. Dontrelle Willis (0-3, 4.08) starts for the Reds. Willis left his last start against San Diego with a sore left forearm but was OK'd to pitch after an MRI revealed no significant injury.