|Cincinnati Reds' Scott Rolen hits a two-run home run off Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 28, 2010, in Cincinnati. The home run was the 300th of Rolen's career. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)|
Rolen's 300th HR leads Reds over Phillies 7-3
CINCINNATI—Scott Rolen hit his 300th career homer Monday night, and Johnny Cueto shut down the team that gave him an historic loss the last time they faced, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Reds won for the sixth time in seven games, keeping them atop the NL Central. It's the latest they have been in first place since 1999.
Rolen hit a two-run shot in the fourth inning off Kyle Kendrick (4-3), a hooking drive that smacked off the bottom of the foul pole in left field. He added a sacrifice fly.
Cueto (8-2) retired only two batters when he faced the Phillies last July 6, setting the Reds on course for a 22-1 drubbing that was the worst in franchise history. This time, he allowed six hits and one run in eight innings.
The Phillies lost for only the second time in seven games. An offense that averaged 6.8 runs over the last 11 games froze up against the 24-year-old Cueto, who had plenty of motivation to look good.
When the right-hander pitched in Philadelphia last July, he gave up a career-high nine runs while failing to make it through the first inning. The NL's top defense prevented this one from getting away early.
The Reds pulled off two double plays in the first four innings, including an improbable one started by second baseman Brandon Phillips. He made a backhand stop on Raul Ibanez's grounder up the middle and flipped the ball under his body to second base while falling on his chest.
Shortstop Orlando Cabrera robbed Chase Utley in the sixth, going up the middle to grab his grounder and throw him out from center field. Cabrera also made an over-the-shoulder catch of Ross Gload's fly ball in the eighth.
Ryan Howard had a double and triple and scored the Phillies' run off Cueto in the seventh. Ibanez hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Bill Bray.
Joey Votto doubled ahead of Rolen's 17th homer, his highest total in four years. The 35-year-old third baseman has avoided the nagging injuries that limited him the last few seasons.
Votto and Cabrera both had three hits as the top of the NL's most prolific lineup did most of the damage. Cincinnati leads the league in batting average, runs and hits.
NOTES: Phillies 3B Placido Polanco was out of the lineup for the third straight game with a sore left elbow, aggravated on a dive Friday night. Manager Charlie Manuel said he could return Tuesday. ... Reds RHP Homer Bailey, on the DL since May 24 with an inflamed pitching shoulder, threw 30 pitches off a flat surface without a problem. He hopes to throw off a bullpen mound a couple of times before the All-Star break. ... Votto got on base for the 36th consecutive game, the longest Reds streak since Pete Rose did it in 48 straight in 1978, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.