PHILADELPHIA -- Neither Zack Cozart nor Todd Frazier have been in the Majors very long to experience much of the repeated heartbreak inflicted upon the Reds in Philadelphia.
The rookies' efforts in the late innings of the Reds' thrilling 5-4 win over the Phillies on Tuesday might be a sign that the worm has started to turn.
"It's about time we won one of these close ones here," said Reds manager Dusty Baker, whose club came in 9-21 all time at Citizens Bank Park. "It's been a while. A one-run game, usually in the past, has gone their way."
It could have been another demoralizing night for Cincinnati. Its relievers had blown leads in both the seventh and eighth innings but were picked up both times. The biggest hit came from Cozart, who led off the ninth by jumping on a first pitch from Jonathan Papelbon to snap a 4-4 tie with a home run into the left-field seats.
"Any guy that has a fastball like that, you don't want to fall behind," Cozart said. "I was looking for a pitch out over the plate. He threw a fastball, and I put a good swing on it."
"I'm thinking in a tie ballgame the leadoff hitter is probably going to maybe take one and try to manufacture a run off me," Papelbon said. "Instead of me giving in and saying I'm going to throw a strike, I've got to execute a better strike."
Aroldis Chapman converted his 22nd straight save and 30th of the season in the bottom of the ninth, and helped himself defensively. After pinch-hitter Placido Polanco reached on an infield single to shortstop, Jimmy Rollins bunted toward the mound. Chapman fielded the ball quickly and fired a bullet of a forceout throw to Cozart covering second base. Rollins stole second and third base with two outs, but Chapman struck out Chase Utley with a 102-mph fastball to end the game.
Just like that, the Phillies' seven-game winning streak over the Reds had ended in a game that had to be grinded out in every possible way.
"It was huge," said Frazier, who had given the Reds a lead with a solo home run in the eighth. "It's a sign of a team that can go on a big run, that can be a championship team. It's a sign that we don't get down when adversity comes. This team has done it all year."
The Reds also saw their 3-1 lead, taken in the top of the seventh against Phillies starter Cliff Lee, turn into a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the inning.
During the top of the seventh with runners on second and third and no outs with one run in, the Reds let starter Homer Bailey bat for himself. It was largely out of necessity after the bullpen had worked 3 2/3 innings the previous night and was a man down after Logan Ondrusek was sent to the Minors. Bailey struck out before Cozart hit a sacrifice fly and Drew Stubbs added an RBI single to cap the three-run inning.
"We were very short in the bullpen," Baker said. "We were trying to get another inning out of him."
Bailey returned to the mound and gave up a pair of one-out hits that put runners on second and third base. Sean Marshall took over and walked pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton before giving up Rollins' game-tying two-run double to left field.
Bailey may not have figured in the decision, but it was a strong performance for 6 1/3 innings. He gave up three runs (two earned) and seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
Coming into the game, Bailey had an 8.26 ERA (18 runs, 19 2/3 innings) over his last four starts since July 31. Pitching coach Bryan Price spotted a mechanical flaw, and adjustments were made.
"It was probably the biggest difference tonight than what we had the last four or five games," Bailey said. "We knew it was there. I was feeling fine. I was like a hitter who has a glitch in their swing or any athlete that has a glitch in their mechanics."
Frazier had the answer in the top of the eighth as the Reds took a 4-3 lead on his 18th homer of the season, a two-out solo shot to left field off Antonio Bastardo. Second among National League rookies in homers and the rookie leader with 55 RBIs, Frazier has only helped improve his NL Rookie of the Year resume.
After allowing a leadoff walk in the bottom of the eighth, reliever Jonathan Broxton got a double play and appeared to be getting away clean when Domonic Brown grounded to second base. Brandon Phillips couldn't glove the ball, however, and it got by him for what was ruled a single. Kevin Frandsen made it a 4-4 game with an RBI triple to the right-field corner. Broxton was credited with the victory as the Reds found a way to come out ahead.
"It's a matter of will power," Baker said. "When you get down there and you're fighting and fighting, you almost have to think it, believe it and will it to happen. There's something to that. I've seen it many times. I just tell our guys you've got to keep believing and keep willing."