The Reds close a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, trying to salvage a split and stay at least tied for first place in the NL Central.
Playing its first series without Votto, who underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee Tuesday and is expected to miss three to four weeks, Cincinnati (51-40) has lost two of three against Arizona, including a 7-1 defeat Wednesday.
The Reds have totaled eight runs while hitting .229 during the series. They failed attempts at two sacrifice bunts in the early innings Wednesday.
"Those are the things you have to do if you're going to play winning baseball," manager Dusty Baker told the Reds' official website.
With Votto out, Cincinnati is looking for production from other sources such as Jay Bruce , but his average over the last 11 games fell to .119 after he went 0 for 4 on Wednesday.
The loss dropped Cincinnati into a tie with Pittsburgh for first place in the division. The Reds had won six straight going into this series.
As the offense slumps without Votto, the importance of starting pitching increases. Fortunately for the Reds, who are coming off Mat Latos ' first loss since April 18, Mike Leake (3-6, 3.96 ERA) has pitched extremely well recently.
Leake has a 1.95 ERA over his last five starts, dropping his ERA below four for the first time this season. He gave up two runs over six innings of a 3-2, 10-inning win against St. Louis on Saturday.
The right-hander faced Arizona (44-47) twice last season, giving up nine runs and 13 hits in 11 2-3 innings but picking up a win at home.
He'll want to pitch carefully to Stephen Drew , who is 4 for 6 with a double against Leake. However, Drew is hitting .192 in 15 games since coming off the disabled list following ankle surgery.
Leake has never faced the Diamondbacks' Jason Kubel , who returned Wednesday from a sore hamstring which kept him sidelined four games and homered in his first two at-bats. Kubel now has five homers and 12 RBIs in his last nine games.
"That was nice, a fun one today," Kubel said. "I knew I'd be in there today and it would feel good. There wasn't a concern about it."
His return helped spark Arizona's offense, which had been held to either one run or none in four of its previous five games.
The Diamondbacks are looking to win their first road series since taking two of three at San Diego from June 1-3. They had lost five straight series away from home before at least earning a split of this one.
Arizona's Joe Saunders (4-6, 3.52) will hope for a better start Thursday in his second outing since coming off the disabled list.
After being sidelined almost a month with a strained throwing shoulder, Saunders gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings of a 4-1 loss to Chicago last Saturday.
"Felt great. It was fun to get back out, start contributing again," he said.
The left-hander is 0-2 with a 6.61 ERA in three starts against the Reds.
|June 27, 2012||Daniel Hudson||15-Day DL||Right foream tightness|
|June 25, 2012||John McDonald||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 17, 2012||Joe Saunders||15-Day DL||Strained left shoulder|
|June 17, 2012||Joe Saunders||15-Day DL||Strained left shoulder|
|May 23, 2012||Miguel Montero||Day-to-Day||Groin injury|
|April 19, 2012||Daniel Hudson||15-Day DL||Right shoulder impingement|
|July 16, 2012||Joey Votto||Day-to-Day||Torn meniscus, left knee - out 3-4 weeks|
|July 16, 2012||Joey Votto||15-Day DL||Torn meniscus, left knee|
|June 30, 2012||Joey Votto||Day-to-Day||Left game - left knee inflammation|
|June 28, 2012||Brandon Phillips||Day-to-Day||Head|
|June 12, 2012||Zack Cozart||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|June 06, 2012||Drew Stubbs||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Brandon Phillips felt Cincinnati's fans were a bit premature in their booing, so he took it upon himself to turn the jeers into cheers.
The second baseman homered and had a season-high five RBIs, then scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning on Todd Frazier 's single to help the Reds rally from a six-run deficit in a 7-6 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.
"If you're going to boo, wait until the game's over," said Phillips, who Cincinnati to its first win after trailing by as many as six runs since wiping out a 6-0 deficit to beat Washington 8-7 on May 21, 2007. "We feed off the fans."
Arizona led 6-3 with one out in the seventh when reliever Bryan Shaw (1-4) walked pinch-hitter Xavier Paul and leadoff batter Drew Stubbs . Wilson Valdez 's grounder skipped under the glove of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt for a run-scoring error, setting up Phillips' tying two-run double to left-center field.
Phillips moved to third on Jay Bruce 's groundout to Goldschmidt against reliever Mike Zagurski and scored on Frazier's single to left off Brad Ziegler .
"That was pretty fun, especially after the beginning," Frazier said. "We were a little dead. Brandon got us going."
Alfredo Simon (2-1) allowed one hit in 1 2-3 innings for the win. Logan Ondrusek and Sean Marshall combined to pitch a scoreless eighth and Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his 15th save as the Reds salvaged a split of the four-game series and moved a half-game ahead of idle Pittsburgh in the NL Central.
The Reds improved to 2-2 in their first four games without All-Star first baseman Joey Votto , who underwent arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. They also have 22 come-from-behind wins.
"The Reds are a very resilient team," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.
Phillips, who usually bats fourth, finally got going in Votto's normal No. 3 spot. He was a combined 3-for-11 with one RBI in the first three games since manager Dusty Baker moved him up a notch.
"Brandon can hit all over the order," Baker said. "He's the only guy we've got who can do that. This lets you know you can come back. It shows us what we can do without Joey. You've just got to keep doing what you can do."
The Diamondbacks scored in the first inning for the third time in the four-game series. Willie Bloomquist led off the game with a single to right field, stole second as Aaron Hill was striking out and scored on Goldschmidt's two-out single to center.
They made it 2-0 in the third on Bloomquist's leadoff double to right field and Hill's RBI single to right that extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Hill added his 13th homer of the season, a 395-foot solo shot into the left field seats, with one out in the fifth. The Diamondbacks added three in the sixth, including Henry Blanco 's two-run homer, his first since Sept. 28 against the Dodgers.
Stubbs and Valdez led off the sixth with singles before Phillips crushed a 1-1 pitch 428 feet into the second deck in left field for his 11th homer of the season.
Arizona starter Joe Saunders allowed one hit in five innings before wilting in the sixth. The left-hander allowed four hits and three runs with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings.
"I ran into a little trouble in the sixth - a couple of soft hits," Saunders said. "I made a good pitch to Phillips. I don't know how he kept it fair. Maybe he was cheating in a little bit. You've just got to tip your cap and move on. It's a shame we couldn't close it out and win the series."
Cincinnati starter Mike Leake tied his career high by allowing 11 hits and his season high with six runs before being lifted with one out in the sixth inning. Leake finished with two strikeouts and a walk.
NOTES: Reds All-Star OF Jay Bruce went 0 for 4 to extend his hitless streak to 18 at bats. ... Hill's homer made it the 72nd consecutive game in which at least one home run has been hit at Great American Ball Park, the longest active streak. ... The start of the game was delayed 46 minutes by rain. ... After going 2-5 on the road trip, the Diamondbacks are scheduled to open a 10-game homestand Friday against Houston. RHP Trevor Cahill , Arizona's projected starter, is 1-3 with a 4.63 ERA over his last four starts. ... RHP Homer Bailey , who won his last three starts, is scheduled to start for the Reds against Milwaukee Friday at Cincinnati. Bailey never has won four straight starts.