The two Roys turned in completely opposite performances, but in the end, both got the same result. In the playoffs, the winner is usually the team that makes the fewest mistakes, and in Game 2, there were plenty to go around, but in the end, it was the Reds, who committed four errors as a team, that find themselves now in a 2-0 series deficit.
The Reds took out their frustration for Wednesday right away, as Brandon Phillips led off the game with a solo shot. In the second, the Reds added another. Chase Utley’s throwing error allowed Laynce Nix to reach to lead off the inning, but Oswalt was working around that runner. That was until Ryan Hanigan grounded into what looked to be a sure double play, by Utley’s throw was wide again, as he was plowed at second by Drew Stubbs. Nix came across to score, and the Reds had a 2-0 lead. Again, the Reds added in the fourth, as Jay Bruce led off with a solo shot. The Phillies had a great chance to answer in the bottom of the fourth, as Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth both reached, but Jimmy Rollins grounded into an inning-ending double play. Meanwhile, the Reds just continued to pile on. Brandon Phillips led off the fifth with a double, and later scored on a sac fly by Joey Votto. But, in this game of baseball, sometimes what goes around comes around, and that happened for the Phillies in the fifth. With two outs, a pair of errors set up a bases loaded chance. Chase Utley already had two errors in the game, and took advantage of the Reds mistakes with a two-run single, cutting the lead in half. Roy Oswalt wasn’t solid, but kept the Phils in the game, going 5 innings, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on five hits, walking one and striking out five. In the sixth, the Phils made another solid leadoff at-bat pay off. Jayson Werth battled for a walk, but was still on first with two outs. That’s when he stole second to move into scoring position. After that, both Carlos Ruiz and Ben Francisco were hit by pitches, loading the bases. Shane Victorino worked a bases loaded walk, but that was all the Phillies would get, as Placido Polanco grounded out to third to end the sixth. In the seventh, the Phils had the task of facing Aroldis Chapman for the first time. He hit Chase Utley to start his debut against the Phillies, and looked to be close escaping the seventh, until a bad decision by Scott Rolen cost the Reds. Rolen went to second on a ground ball by Jayson Werth, but Chase Utley beat the throw and it was safe all around for the Phils. Jimmy Rollins was up next, and flied one into right. The only explanation for what happened next is that Jay Bruce lost it in the lights. Bruce let it fall right under his glove, and Utley and Werth raced around third to score, giving the Phillies their first lead of the night. Later in the inning, Carlos Ruiz grounded into a fielder’s choice that plated Rollins, capping the three-run frame. Jayson Werth added to the lead in the eighth with an RBI single. The bullpen kept the Phillies in the game the whole time, with the help of J.C. Romero, Chad Durbin, and Jose Contreras, and also nailed down the Game 2 win, thanks to Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. The Phillies, with the help of errors, took a 2-0 series lead with a 7-4 win over the Reds.
For five innings, Bronson Arroyo held the Phillies in check, and made this an aggravating Game 2. Chase Utley’s two errors, and the Reds four early runs didn’t make matters any better. And the whole time, the thought of the Reds excellent bullpen loomed. Arroyo ended his quest for a win responsible for three Phillies’ runs, and instead of being a near impossible task, scoring four runs off the Reds’ bullpen, the Phillies were within one with three chances to bat. The errors that followed made this an even wilder game, and definitely won the game for the Phillies, but there is more to it than that. For the Phillies, who have put almost all the weight of their rotation, didn’t get the best outing from Roy Oswalt, and still got enough from the offense, or Reds’ defense, to win the game. It gives them the commanding 2-0 series lead, and leaves the Reds with their backs against the wall.
The Phillies and Reds have another off day tomorrow, and play Game 3 Sunday night in Cincinnati. The Phillies go for the sweep there, and look to advance to their third straight NLCS.