Game of April 5: Reds 6, Phillies 5

Larkin HR fuels 10th-inning win

The Cincinnati Enquirer

PHILADELPHIA - In separate ways, Barry Larkin and Marcus Moore gave familiar performances Friday night that lifted the Reds to a 6-5, 10-inning victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Larkin played the role of hero, homering off Toby Borland to open the 10th and break a 4-4 tie. The 1995 National League MVP has hit the Reds' only two homers in four games this year.

''People scoff when I talk about Barry being the best player in the game,'' said Reds manager Ray Knight. ''I've just seen him do whatever it takes time and time and time again. For my money, there's nobody I would pick before Barry Larkin to start a baseball team.''

Moore did a flawless imitation of Mitch ''Wild Thing'' Williams, the ex-reliever who constantly created jams and pitched out of them.

Despite throwing 16 balls and only nine strikes, Moore emerged with his second save. He retired the final two batters on called third strikes, with the potential tying run on second base and the possible winning run on first.

That capped another frightening outing for the Reds' bullpen, which had flopped in consecutive losses to Montreal on Wednesday and Thursday. Given a 4-2 lead by starter Mark Portugal - who lasted 5ö innings - Tim Pugh, Jeff Shaw and Moore each surrendered a run.

Though Moore will relinquish his role as closer today when Jeff Brantley comes off the disabled list, his was a memorable finale.

''We were going to win it or lose it with him,'' Knight said.

The Reds gave Moore an extra run to work with in the 10th, on pinch hitter Eric Owens' single off Dave Leiper that made it 6-4.

It proved to be essential.

Moore missed the strike zone with his first six pitches, walking Mark Whiten and prompting a visit from pitching coach Don Gullett and catcher Joe Oliver - plus plenty more advice.

''My body was flying open and I was over-excited out there,'' Moore said. ''(First baseman) Hal (Morris) was on me, so was Barry, so was (third baseman) Willie (Greene) . . . I think I even heard an outfielder yell at me.''

The yelling rose among the remnants of a Veterans Stadium crowd of 17,318 when ex-Red Benito Santiago doubled to left field, scoring Whiten.

But after Lee Tinsley walked, Moore slipped a full-count strike past pinch hitter Pete Incaviglia. He did the same on a 2-2 pitch to rookie Kevin Jordan, whose homer leading off the ninth (off Shaw) forced extra innings.

''Marcus showed erratic control, but, boom, he found it,'' Knight said. ''And once he finds it, he's tough.''

As for Larkin, he stood fast after Borland threw a 2-and-1 pitch that nearly beaned him.

''I didn't think he was trying to throw at me,'' Larkin said. ''I really thought the ball was going to hit me in the face. I refocused and regrouped because I said, 'Oh my gosh, I almost got hit in the face.' I didn't try to hit the ball any harder because of that.''

Larkin has reinforced his MVP status nicely, building a .500 average (7-for-14).

The Reds will learn how much they miss Larkin tonight, when he flies to Houston for his maternal grandmother's funeral. Though Larkin expects to return here before tonight's game ends, he probably won't be back in time to start.

Early on, Portugal ignited the Reds' offense off Phillies starter Mike Williams, doubling to right-center field to start a two-run uprising in the third inning. After Larkin walked on four pitches, Morris blooped a two-out double to left field, scoring Portugal and Larkin.

Leading 2-1, the Reds added two runs in the sixth.

Sanders walked with one out and moved to second on Greene's groundout. Eric Davis then hit a grounder that barely eluded third baseman Todd Zeile. Shortstop Kevin Stocker deflected the ball, slowing it down. Sanders scored while Davis wound up with a hustling, sliding double.

Oliver singled to left on Williams' next pitch for his first hit of the year, and another run.

Portugal's outing wasn't an artistic success. He allowed seven hits, issued two four-pitch walks, and never worked a 1-2-3 inning.

How the runs scored

Reds 3rd - Williams pitching. Branson grounded out. Portugal doubled to right-center field. Coleman struck out. Larkin walked. Morris doubled to left, Portugal and Larkin scored. Sanders struck out. Two runs, two hits. Reds 2, Phillies 0.

Phillies 4th - Portugal pitching. Daulton singled to right. Whiten struck out. Zeile grounded out, Daulton to second. Santiago singled to left, Daulton scored, Santiago to second on throw home. Schall struck out. One run, two hits. Reds 2, Phillies 1.

Reds 6th - Morris flied out. Sanders walked. Greene grounded out, Sanders to second. Davis doubled to left, Sanders scored. Oliver singled to left, Davis scored. Branson flied out. Two runs, two hits. Reds 4, Phillies 1.

Phillies 6th - Daulton walked. Whiten forced Daulton at second. Zeile doubled to right-center, Whiten scored. Santiago struck out. Schall singled to left, Zeile to third. Pugh relieved Portugal. Stocker grounded out. One run, two hits. Reds 4, Phillies 2.

Phillies 7th - Jordan grounded out. Dykstra singled to right. Morandini walked, Dykstra to second. Daulton flied out, Dykstra to third. Whiten walked on wild pitch; Dykstra scored, Morandini to third. Shaw relieved Pugh. Zeile grounded out. One run, one hit. Reds 4, Phillies 3.

Phillies 9th - (Shaw pitching) Jordan homered. Dykstra grounded out. Morandini walked. Daulton hit into a double play. One run, one hit. Reds 4, Phillies 4.

Reds 10th - (Borland pitching) Larkin homered. (Leiper pitching) Morris singled. Sanders grounded into fielder's choice, forcing Morris at second. Greene grounded out to first, Sanders went to second. Owens singled up the middle, scoring Sanders. Owens stole second. Oliver grounded out to third. Two runs, three hits. Reds 6, Phillies 4.

Phillies 10th - (Moore pitching) Whiten walked. Zeile flied out, Whiten tagged up and advanced to second. Santiago doubled, scoring Whiten. Tinsley walked. Incaviglia called out on strikes. Jordan called out on strikes. One run, one hit. Reds 6, Phillies 5.

Published April 6, 1996.