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Lacking big bats, Reds lose 8-3 to Phillies
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The short-handed Reds could have used some power bats on Sunday.
Unfortunately for Cincinnati, sluggers Jay Bruce and Joey Votto were still unavailable.
Cody Asche, Jimmy Rollins, Wil Nieves and Marlon Byrd all homered, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Reds 8-3.
Cincinnati's Devin Mesoraco had a career-high four hits, including two doubles and an RBI. The Reds, already without Bruce (knee), again played without Votto, who remained in Cincinnati during the three-game series with a left knee injury.
Manager Bryan Price said there is no timetable for Votto's return. The Reds are reluctant to put the four-time All-Star and 2010 MVP on the disabled list in hopes that he will return sooner than the 15 days required for the DL.
"We don't know exactly how much time it will take for him to be game-ready, so we don't want to make a commitment to a DL," Price said. "That's the challenge we have. We don't want to DL him and find out in two or three days he's ready to play. As long as we're somewhat comfortable having a four-man bench, we won't have to make a decision. Hopefully we get better news every day."
The Reds open a three-game series at the Nationals on Monday night, and Price couldn't say whether Votto even would be in Washington, let alone play.
Bruce, a two-time All-Star, is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday. Votto and Bruce have hit 330 combined homers.
The Reds certainly could have used some of that production on Sunday.
"The elephant in the room is the fact we have Votto and Bruce unavailable," Price said. "Those are pretty essential pieces. That being said, we do have players getting an opportunity to play and do some things. I was very, very optimistic going into today's game that we were going to do some really good things offensively. We got some things started, but we weren't able to finish."
Philadelphia's offense came to life for a second straight day. Despite playing in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies entered Sunday second-to-last in the NL in home runs with 27.
But they were riding the confidence of homering twice while scoring 12 runs in Saturday's victory, which snapped streaks of four straight losses and 23 consecutive scoreless innings.
"Today's game was a momentum game and a build off (of Saturday)," Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said. "It was a carry-over game on the offensive side."
After the Reds went up 2-0 in the top of the first Sunday on Brandon Phillips' RBI groundout and Mesoraco's run-scoring double, Rollins hit his 46th career leadoff homer. Nieves followed with a solo shot to left to tie the game.
It was just the fifth time in club history the Phillies began the game with consecutive homers, the last coming Sept. 9, 2004, at Atlanta when Rollins and Placido Polanco accomplished the feat.
Chase Utley's fifth-inning groundout scored Cliff Lee and put Philadelphia ahead for good. Byrd opened the sixth with a solo homer to right to push the lead to 4-2.
That was enough offense for Lee (4-4), who had gotten very little support at home this season. He entered 0-3 in four home starts despite posting a 1.55 ERA. Lee gave up two runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and a walk.
"It's definitely easier to pitch with a lead," Lee said.
Reds starter Tony Cingrani (2-3) returned from the disabled list and allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings while striking out seven and walking three. Cingrani, who hadn't pitched since April 30 because of left shoulder tendinitis, had given up a total of three homers all season in 32 1-3 innings before the three Sunday.
"I felt pretty good today," Cingrani said. "Everything was coming out well. I was spotting it pretty much all day."
Cincinnati scored just seven runs in the series as the Phillies took two of three from the Reds and improved to 7-0-1 in home series against Cincinnati since 2006.
Notes: To make room for Cingrani, the Reds optioned catcher Tucker Barnhart to Triple-A Louisville before the game. ... Reds RHP Mike Leake (2-3, 3.09) opposes Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (3-3, 3.48) when Cincinnati travels to Washington to open a three-game series on Monday night. ... After Monday's off day, the Phillies travel to Miami for three games against the Marlins, with Philadelphia RHP A.J. Burnett (2-3, 3.13) facing Marlins RHP Anthony DeSclafani (1-0, 3.00) on Tuesday.
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