PHILADELPHIA -- Domonic Brown found himself in the middle of almost everything Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies hope it is just a start.
Brown hit his first home run of the season in the fifth inning and ripped a double in the eighth inning in a 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. He also made two impressive plays (and one not so impressive) in the field.
"I wasn't even really thinking about it, really," Brown said of his homer. "Just trying to do whatever I can do for the team. Just saw a ball up and hit it."
Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo handled everybody else in the Phillies' lineup rather easily, much to the chagrin of Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Arroyo carried a perfect game into the fifth, when Brown hit his two-out solo home run to right field. Arroyo retired the next eight batters he faced after Brown's blast, until Brown ripped a double off the right-center-field wall with one out in the eighth.
"I didn't know a whole lot about him," Arroyo said. "I just tried to throw a 0-0 sinker on the outer half [in the fifth]. I thought he would take it, and he hit it out of the park. I went soft away with the breaking ball [in the eighth], and he stayed back on it and hit that nice, too. I didn't have a huge scouting report on the guy, and I hadn't had any history with him. You're kind of feeling your way through the game, and he beat me twice."
It was an impressive showing from Arroyo, who allowed three hits and two runs in eight-plus innings. He was 0-6 with a 10.29 ERA in his last six regular-season starts against the Phillies. The Phillies did rally against Arroyo and Aroldis Chapman in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen's single forced Arroyo's exit, and pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton hit a one-out RBI single, before Chapman ended the threat for his 31st save.
The Phillies are watching Brown closely the final few weeks of the season. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he believes Brown has the talent to be an everyday player in right field or left field, both offensively and defensively.
But Amaro and Manuel also are quick to point out that Brown is not a finished product. Brown has had some of the team's most impressive at-bats since he started playing regularly this month. He also had not shown much power until Wednesday.
The Phillies said they believe the power will come.
"When you see him start hitting some balls out in front like he did, you're going to see some power numbers," Manuel said. "He swung the bat good. He was the guy in our lineup who swung the bat good."
"I think they're just throwing me more in," said Brown, asked if he feels he is pulling the ball more. "I think they're checking out the charts. It's a cat-and-mouse game, and I've got to make the adjustments just like they're doing."
Brown made a diving catch to end the third inning. He lost a ball in the twilight with one out in the third, which allowed Jay Bruce to reach third for a triple. Brown made up for it when Todd Frazier skied another ball into the air with runners on first and third and one out in the fourth inning. Not only did Brown catch the ball, but he threw a laser to home plate to get Bruce out at the plate and end the inning.
"I was just trying to make a play for Vance [Worley]," Brown said. "I already messed up a ball."
The Reds scored two of their three runs in the fifth against Worley. Ryan Hanigan worked a walk and advanced to second on Arroyo's sacrifice bunt. Hanigan scored on Drew Stubbs' bloop single to right-center field to make it 1-0. Brandon Phillips followed with a single up the middle to put runners on first and second with two outs when Ryan Ludwick hit a ball to right-center to score Stubbs and make it 2-0.
They would be the only runs Worley would allow in six innings, his longest start since Aug. 1. Worley has pitched six or more innings just twice in his last six starts. He allowed eight hits, two runs, two walks and struck out three Wednesday.
"I did get to six today, didn't I?" Worley said. "That felt good. It's just part of the game, I guess. I kept the team in it, and they didn't really hit the ball hard. So I can say that I did my job."
Brown did his job, too. The Phillies are hoping that he will continue to grow in the remaining 38 games of the season, so that on Opening Day 2013 they will feel they have a guy ready to compete and produce on a daily basis. They will need it.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.