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CIN@PIT: Phillips drives in go-ahead run in ninth

PITTSBURGH -- The Reds earned the right to head to their bus to the airport on Sunday with a little spring in their step. They finally won a road series and beat a very tough closer twice to get it.

In a comeback effort, Cincinnati grinded out a 5-4 victory over the Pirates with a two-run rally in the top of the ninth against All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan. It gave the Reds two of three games in the series and snapped a six-road-series losing streak. The last time the Reds won a road series was from June 27-29, when they took two of three from the Rays.

How tough is Hanrahan? The Pirates came in 52-0 this season when leading after eight innings. He had saved 31 of 33 games, but the blown saves came in the eighth inning, when he let inherited runners score. This was the first save situation this season in which he gave up runs of his own in the ninth inning.

"To take that victory from them, especially off their closer, who has been outstanding all year -- he's got great stuff -- it might wake our team up," said Ramon Hernandez, whose pinch-hit single in the ninth inning scored the tying run.

It was Hanrahan's third consecutive day of work, and he gave up three runs in the top of the ninth Friday that turned an 8-8 tie into an 11-8 Reds victory.

Rookie Todd Frazier led off the ninth on Sunday with a single into center field. After Ryan Hanigan drew a one-out walk, Hernandez batted for Paul Janish and grounded an 0-2 pitch for a clutch single into left field that scored Frazier with the tying run.

"I was looking to stay back, because he's got a very good slider," Hernandez said. "He hanged that slider a little bit too high, and I got lucky that I hit it where nobody was and put it through the hole. He's a tough pitcher."

The rally continued as pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo followed with another single that loaded the bases. Brandon Phillips grounded the ball slowly towards second base, where Cairo's slide broke up the double play as pinch-runner Dave Sappelt scored the go-ahead run.

"Today, I didn't get any breaks," Hanrahan said. "They score that winning run on a weak ground ball. He hits it any harder, and we have a double play."

"That was a great comeback," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We had some help from guys off the bench."

It was not smooth sailing in the bottom of the ninth for closer Francisco Cordero. Ryan Doumit led off with a single to right field. His pinch-runner, Josh Harrison, was caught stealing second base in a very close play while Neil Walker was at the plate. Replay showed that Harrison was barely safe. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected by umpire Brian Knight for arguing the call.

It proved key as Walker doubled to left-center field and went to third base on Xavier Paul's flyout to right field. Brandon Wood grounded out to third base to give Cordero his 26th save.

"Ramon made a great throw on the speedy Harrison to sort of squash that rally," Baker said. "[Walker], he has been a thorn in our side big time. He hit like .400 against us. He got the double, and we were fortunate to get out of that inning and go on to victory."

Following a decent performance from starter Mike Leake, Jose Arredondo earned the victory with two perfect innings of relief in the seventh and eighth.

"That's the best he's been in a while," Baker said. "He didn't walk the leadoff guy. He was throwing strikes and kept the ball down. They hit some balls on the nose. They centered them but not enough to hit them out of the ballpark."

Leake pitched six innings and gave up four runs and five hits, with one walk and five strikeouts. He allowed two home runs, including a two-run shot by Andrew McCutchen in the first inning. After that, Leake settled in and retired 14 of 15, including a stretch of 12 in a row.

Cincinnati had just taken a 3-2 lead on Joey Votto's three-run home run in the top of the sixth off Pittsburgh starter James McDonald, before the Pirates responded in the bottom half. Jose Tabata drove a triple high off of the right-field wall against Leake. Next came Garrett Jones, who managed to pull a low-and-inside pitch that was nearly in the dirt for a two-run homer.

"There were probably three mistakes," Leake said. "The home run to McCutchen, falling behind was a big mistake. A 3-1 count, and I left a ball right over the middle. Tabata was at 3-2 after 1-2. [Jones] picked that up off the ground. That probably [ticked] me off more than anything."

The game was slowed by two rain delays, including one for 41 minutes prior to first pitch. There was a 20-minute stoppage during the top of the seventh.

The 62-65 Reds survived it all to win the game and the series. They improved to 21-27 in one-run games. However, they still remain a distant and season-high 13 1/2 games behind the first-place Brewers heading into Monday's off-day. On Tuesday, the nine-game road trip resumes with a three-game series that opens in Florida.

"It's always fun to come back," Leake said. "I wish we could do that every game with one-run ballgames. We haven't had too much luck with one-run games." Comments