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Seventh inning reverses Reds, Phils fortunes

Seventh inning reverses Reds, Phils fortunes

PHILADELPHIA -- No, Chase Utley was not hit by that 101-mph Aroldis Chapman pitch.

"You get hit by that pitch, you're going to be laying on the ground," Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said.

Yes, Utley was out on that force play at second.

"From where I was, it looked like he was out," said Reds manager Dusty Baker.

No, right fielder Jay Bruce did not lose that drive in the sea of white towels being waved at his face.

"It was in the lights the whole time. I tried to stick with it to see if it would come out. It never did," Bruce said.


Yes, Utley touched third base on his way home to score the tying run.

"I saw him touch the bag. I take a look when someone comes around third, and he touched it, Just the corner. But that's all you need," said third baseman Scott Rolen.

No, the 2010 Reds never had a month like that seventh inning.

"We made some errors, but the thing is we've got to make the plays after that. We didn't, and we lost in a real bad way," Phillips said.

An atrocious 7-4 loss to the Phillies in Game 2 of the NL Division Series was underscored by the Sordid Seventh, the three-run rally from Hell's Kitchen.

It began with Cincinnati holding a 4-3 lead, three innings from taking a deadlocked Division Series back home, and Baker's bullpen set up as designed.

With the lefty-oriented heart of the Phillies' lineup due up, Chapman made his anticipated entrance and introduced himself to Utley, the leadoff hitter, with a 100-mph fastball. Then he bent an 84-mph slider past him for strike two, the seeming perfect precursor to another blow-away heater.

But the next 101-mph fastball sailed in on and by Utley's hands. He dropped the bat and trotted to first.

"It was pretty close," Utley said. "At first I thought it was going to hit me in my head. Fortunately, it didn't. I felt like I thought it hit me, so I put my head down and I ran to first."

Plate umpire Bruce Dreckman did not stop him.

"I felt it tip my glove," said Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan. "It was one of those things, the ball going so hard. If it didn't hit him, he sold it well. Honestly, I couldn't tell, but I felt like it didn't [hit him].

"It wasn't obvious, but he did what he had to do to get one of those calls."

"Yeah, he got hit," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "He got hit bad enough to take his base. But, yeah, he got hit."

Did you, Mr. Utley?

"I'm not sure," he said.

Chapman turned Ryan Howard into a strikeout victim, his version of good morning-good afternoon-good night going 100-99-101.

"I think I had control of the game," Chapman said. "I always think I have control of the game. Things didn't work out the way I wanted."

Jayson Werth got his bat ruined by another 100-mph fastball, but used the replacement stick to hit a hard grounder just to the left of Rolen, who threw to Phillips at second in an attempt to force Utley.

"It was a one-run game. I felt I had to be aggressive," Rolen said. "I thought I had as good a shot there as I did at first; Werth runs fairly well. So I went to second to keep the tying run out of scoring position."

Second-base umpire Ed Rapuano spread his arms to indicate "Safe!"

"He's a great umpire," Phillips said, "but I feel like he missed that. His foot didn't touch the bag. I really thought he was out. That play at second shocked me more than anything."

Until that play was trumped by the ensuing one.

Jimmy Rollins clocked a line drive to right field. All eyes checked the baserunners, for whether they'd be fair game for Bruce's cannon arm after the catch. Utley hustled back toward second to tag up.

But Bruce never laid leather on the ball. Did not even come close.

"It's pretty helpless. It's embarrassing," Bruce said. "I take a lot of pride in my defense. There's really nothing I can do about it. I wish for my team more than anything that it didn't go into the lights or that it came out and I could have caught it. It didn't happen."

"He had a bead on it," Baker said. "He had an idea where it was, but he said it never came out of the lights. He was trying to get low like you're taught to do, and hopefully it comes out of the lights where you expect, but he missed it by, you know, two feet. Definitely, that ball got in the lights at the wrong time."

Utley scored, stumbling around third to end his unique tour of the bases.

"I heard later that he did miss third base," said Baker, who evidently didn't hear it from his third baseman, "but it was too late when I heard about it to appeal."

"Yeah, it was a little hectic," Utley conceded. "I'm not going to lie. I kind of lost my legs coming around third, but, again, it worked out for the best."

As the relay from center fielder Drew Stubbs, who was backing up Bruce on the play, approached Rollins, Werth slowed at third. When Phillips flubbed the throw, Werth, too, scored, resulting in the Reds' fourth error of the game.

Carlos Ruiz's scoring grounder turned it into a three-run inning and a two-run lead. The Phillies added another run in the eighth as Werth singled to score Utley with Philadelphia's lone truly earned run of the night.

Two runs in the fifth had been set up by Rolen's fielding error. Another in the sixth resulted from a pair of walks and a pair of bona fide hit batters.

"A very unfortunate inning for us," Baker said, then corrected himself. "Actually, it was terrible. We ended up giving them most of their runs."

"You leave the door open that many times to those guys and they're going to keep putting pressure on you," Rolen said. "Then things start happening. The balls were hit to us. We had plays and we didn't make them."

"Jay Bruce is a Gold Glove outfielder, Brandon Phillips is a Gold Glove second baseman, Scotty Rolen was a Gold Glove third baseman," Baker ran down the list, "and those guys rarely make mistakes. That that was a very uncommon night for us."

And it caved in on Chapman, unwittingly turning his high-profile postseason debut into a low-brow adventure.

"I think it's part of the game. It's not common to happen but it happened," Chapman said.

Tom Singer is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow @TomDinger on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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