Victorino’s late blast lifts Phils

Phillies CF Shane Victorino breaks a 1-1 ties in the 8th inning with his two-run homer of Reds starter Homer Bailey. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

Shane Victorino may not be high in the discussions for NL MVP but he certainly has been the Phillies most valuable weapon this season. And it showed again in the 8th inning of the Phils 3-2 win last night.

Even with hits being scarce against the Reds, that didn’t stop Wilson Valdez from getting things started. Valdez singled to lead off the eighth inning for his second hit of the night. He went two-for-three with an RBI double.

Michael Martinez came up looking to bunt but popped one up in foul territory that was caught by Joey Votto. The pressure was on Victorino to come through with a clutch hit and salvage the inning.

Victorino sat back and pounded a curveball for a two-run home run into the right field seats at Great American Ballpark to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead.

Victorino is now hitting .308 on the season and could even be an MVP candidate.

Lost in the shuffle was a brilliant start from Cole Hamels. Hamels hadn’t pitched in nearly three weeks but was spectactular.

He gave up one run on two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. His only run was courtesy of a leadoff triple by Brandon Phillips after Hunter Pence slipped and allowed to ball to roll around in right field. Joey Votto grounded out to drive in Phillips to give Cincy the early 1-0 lead.

Hamels had great command and was hitting his right spots in quick fashion. It was a reassuring sight for the Phillies starter, who threw only 76 pitches but looked incredible sharp in doing so.

Michael Stutes was also impressive even though he surrendered a run. He survived an error by Placido Polanco that could’ve led to the Reds tying the game.

But he settled in and got Votto to ground out to Chase Utley to escape the threat.

Ryan Madson closed it out for his 24th save of the season.

2B: Valdez (12). HR: Victorino (15).

WP: Bastardo (6-0). LP: Bailey (7-6). S: Madson (24).



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