Kearns HR in Ninth Ruins Phillies Comeback

Austin Kearns went from being hit in the chest while swinging at a pitch to finishing the game with two homeruns, including a game winner to beat the Phils in the bottom of the ninth Friday night. The drive over the leftfield fence ruined a Phillies comeback and allowed the Reds to salvage a 7-6 win in the opener of a three-game series with the Phillies.

In the third inning, Austin Kearns ended up getting hit in the chest with a pitch that he swung at. To say the least, he looked bad. In that same at bat though, Kearns singled up the middle and would top it off with homeruns in the seventh and ninth innings and finished with a career high four RBI in the game. "When you get a breaking ball up, you have to take advantage of it," said Kearns of the pitch from Jose Mesa (1-1).

The Reds had slowly built themselves a 5-1 lead with the help of Kearns first homerun of the night and homeruns from Adam Dunn and Kelly Stinnett. The whole game seemed to change though on a routine groundball in the top of the eighth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, David Bell hit a groundball to short that Felipe Lopez fired way past the bag and out of reach of Sean Casey, allowing two runs to score. Mike Lieberthal then walked to load the bases and Tyler Houston delivered a pinch-hit single up the middle to tie the score 5-5.

In their half of the ninth, Placido Polanco led off with a homerun to leftfield, giving the Phillies a 6-5 lead and getting Mesa up in the bullpen to come on for a potential save in the bottom of the inning. Mesa came on and got Aaron Boone to pop out to Jimmy Rollins before Sean Casey singled. Kearns then came to the plate and hammered the first pitch from Mesa well into the leftfield seats for the Reds 7-6 win. The blast gave Mesa and the Phillies the loss, while Scott Williamson (2-0), who the Phillies had some interest in acquiring from Cincinnati, got the win for the Reds.

The Reds lead the National League in homeruns and have gotten all four of their wins this season in their last at bat of the game.

The series continues Saturday afternoon with Kevin Millwood (1-0, 3.00) going against Jimmy Haynes (0-2, 12.38).

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