CINCINNATI -- Even though the Reds seemingly showed no pulse, and looked like they had no chance to beat the D-backs on Thursday, Brandon Phillips had a stern message of rebuke for some of the fans.
Don't write off the Reds, ever.
A thrilling 7-6 win over the D-backs came after scoring seven unanswered runs over the sixth and seventh innings, aided mostly by five RBIs from Phillips and the go-ahead RBI single by Todd Frazier in the seventh. As Arizona pummeled starter Mike Leake for a 6-0 lead in the top of the sixth, a loud cascade of boos came from the 21,620 fans at Great American Ball Park.
"It started off ugly, but the ending of the game was beautiful," Phillips said. "I'm glad we won that game because I know a majority of you all was going into panic mode, knowing we should be winning games and we don't have our best hitter in the lineup. I love the fans out there, period, but I feel all the booing out there was unnecessary. We're in first place. We're playing good baseball.
"I know we didn't do our job early in the game. It's not like we did it on purpose. I feel like if you're going to boo somebody, wait until the end of the game is over. You never know when guys will come up in key situations."
Even before Phillips' statement, the Reds already had themselves a huge statement win and a big boost of confidence. It was their biggest come-from-behind win since battling back from six runs down against the Nationals on May 21, 2007.
The win was magnified because the loss would have been even more crippling. Instead of gaining the four-game series split like it did, Cincinnati was poised to lose three of four to a sub-.500 Arizona team in its first series without the services of the injured Joey Votto. It also kept the Reds a half-game ahead of the idle second-place Pirates in the National League Central.
"They let you know that you can come back," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It shows us what we can do and what we have to do with the personnel we have without Joey."
Following a 46-minute rain delay at the start, D-backs lefty Joe Saunders was leading, 2-0, in the third inning and dominating. Saunders did not allow his first Reds hit until there were two outs in the fifth, when Devin Mesoraco lifted a soft single into left field.
Aaron Hill hit a two-out solo homer to left field off of Leake in the fifth, and Arizona blew the game open in a three-run sixth. Justin Upton and Chris Young started the rally with back-to-back doubles for one run, followed by Henry Blanco's first homer of the season, a two-run shot.
"We kind of gave them something in the sixth," Baker said. "I was upset there for a while because we were throwing guys ... nothing but fastballs inside."
The Reds finally perked to life offensively in the bottom of the sixth as Drew Stubbs and Wilson Valdez began with back-to-back singles. On a 1-1 pitch, Phillips drove one inside the left-field foul pole for a three-run home run that made it a three-run game.
It proved to be only the beginning of the comeback. Meanwhile, Alfredo Simon had another strong relief outing with 1 1/3 scoreless innings for his second win in his last three appearances. Simon has a 1.00 ERA over his last 21 games.
The four-run seventh helped push the Reds into the lead. Against reliever Bryan Shaw, pinch-hitter Xavier Paul and Stubbs drew four-pitch walks to create sparks. In a key play, Valdez reached when his grounder skipped under first baseman Paul Goldschmidt's glove and down the right-field line to score Paul. It was ruled an error on Goldschmidt.
"It's a play I've got to make and I wasn't able to make it," Goldschmidt said. "Looking back on it, I probably tried to rush it and in the back of my head tried to turn a double play when I really just need to field that ball and get one out."
After fouling off a 2-2 pitch from Shaw, Phillips tied the game with a two-run double lined to center field, which gave him his five RBIs. Two batters later with two outs, Frazier bested sidearm righty Brad Ziegler with a lined RBI single to center that scored Phillips with the go-ahead run.
"That was pretty fun," Frazier said. "Especially in the beginning there, we were a little dead. We couldn't really put anything together. Brandon was the spark plug and got us going. We know we can hit. Do we want Joey in there? Of course. At the same time, we have to play without him. We understand that. We have to put big innings together. When we have runners on, we have to do something with it. We did today."
Logan Ondrusek notched two outs in the eighth and Sean Marshall finished the inning despite giving up back-to-back singles. Aroldis Chapman had a clean ninth, with the last two batters striking out, for his 15th save.
As Goldschmidt swung and missed to end it, this time fans roared with approval.
"That win right there, it was a great win," Phillips said. "It makes us feel good to shut a lot of people up. We can just build off that win. It's time for us to start attacking teams earlier instead of waiting until the last minute. The way we won the game just shows you that the game is never over, regardless of the fact. You just have to keep on going."