LOS ANGELES – It didn’t look like a big play at the time. Just a case of Brandon being Brandon.
Brandon Phillips was thrown out at second for the first out of the game Monday night. The Reds took a 3-0 lead on the same play.
But when you look back on what would become a 7-5 Reds loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, it turned out to be a huge play.
"We should have gotten more than that in the first inning,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “You got to hustle on that ball there. It’s a totally different inning. That was a rally-killer for us.”
The Reds were facing Jason Schmidt, who was making his first start in 25 months, and it looked like he might not get out of the first inning.
Willy Taveras led off the game with a deep drive to left-center. He cruised in with a triple. Baker came out and argued that it was a home run. The umpires went in and looked at it on video replay. They eventually ruled it a triple.
Jerry Hairston Jr. doubled off the wall in left to get Taveras in. Joey Votto hit one off the wall in right for a long single. Hairston had to hold at third. Votto stole second. He went to third, and Hairston scored, on Russell Martin's throwing error.
Phillips hit a very catchable ball to right. It fell in front of Andre Ethier. Phillips, who did not break hard out of the batter’s box, was out at second. Votto scored to make it 3-0.
“I was happy to get the RBI in," Phillips said. “I was happy I finally did something with runners in scoring position. I hit the ball to the outfield. . I was like ‘damn, I missed it.’ I put my head down.
“I didn’t know he missed until I looked back up. I could’ve done worse and not gotten the run in at all.”
“I (messed) up." Phillips admitted. "That’s my second time this year not hustling. It won’t happen again. I (messed) up.”
Baker was still livid after the game.
“You’ve got to play hard all the time,” Baker said. “That was big, real big. We had him on the ropes. We killed the rally. . . . We end up losing by two runs.”Phillips has a history of this.
“Hey, man, we’ve all talked to him until we’re blue in the face,” Baker said. “This was going on long before I got here.”
The play became big quickly.
Micah Owings could not hold the early lead. He went five innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits.
It was the Reds' 10th straight loss in Dodger Stadium. They haven’t won in L.A. since Brandon Claussen beat the Dodgers July 28, 2005.
Schmidt would get out of the first without further damage.
“We were taking strikes and swinging at balls,” Baker said.
Rafael Furcal started Dodger first with a bunt double. He just popped it over Edwin Encarnacion's head. Russell Martin followed with an RBI single.
Micah Owings struck out Manny Ramirez on three pitches.
Ethier followed with a drive to right that Dickerson misplayed into a double. Casey Blake doubled in two runs to tie it. James Loney singled Blake in, and the Dodgers led 4-3.
“We score three in the first,” Owings said. “I’ve got to get us back to the dugout. I didn’t do it tonight.”
Owings got two quick outs to start the second. Martin singled. This time, Owings fell behind Ramirez 2-0.
Ramirez launched one to left for his 10th and it was 6-3.
The Reds would not get another hit until Phillips singled with two out in the fifth. He stole second. But Laynce Nix popped out to strand him.
Ethier made it a 7-3 game in the bottom of the fifth with his 19th home run of year, a no doubter to right.
The Reds scored two in the eighth. Votto led off with a walk. Phillips singled.
The Dodgers brought in Ramon Troncosco to face Nix. Nix hit one off second baseman Juan Castro’s glove. It was scored an error. Votto scored and Phillips went to third. Encarnacion hit into a double play. Phillips scored but the air was out of the rally.