CLEVELAND -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has never hit an inside-the-park home run in his professional career, but he hoped a scoring decision from Monday will be changed to give him his first.
In the fifth inning of Cincinnati's 10-9 loss to the Indians, with a runner on second base, Phillips lined a ball down the left-field line. Left fielder Johnny Damon gave chase but stumbled into the wall as the ball rolled between his legs. That enabled Phillips to motor around the bases and score with a headfirst slide just ahead of a throw to the plate.
The play was ruled by the official scorer as an RBI double and an error on Damon. Phillips and his agent are appealing to have the decision reviewed by Major League Baseball.
"I saw the replay last night. Everybody said I should [appeal]," Phillips said on Tuesday. "Maybe they can turn it around. I thought it was a home run, especially how [the Cubs'] Tony Campana had a similar play. Hopefully they can change it. If we were in Cincinnati, it would be a home run. But we're in Cleveland. You know how that is. They won't give me [anything] at all. I've got to earn it here."
Campana was credited with an inside-the-park home run against the Reds in August of last season, when his ball bounced off the Wrigley wall and got past left fielder Yonder Alonso in similar fashion.
Phillips, who played for the Indians from 2002-05, felt that Damon could have waited for the ball to carom off of the wall near the foul line and then cut it off.
"Once you try to make that effort, crazy things happen," Phillips said. "Outfielders take a gamble when they dive for a ball coming in. That's how people get inside-the-park homers, when you take a gamble on something. I feel he took a gamble, so it should be a home run. He never touched the ball."
Reds, Indians putting sign-stealing issue to rest
CLEVELAND -- Although Reds starter Mat Latos strongly indicated Monday that Indians hitters were stealing signs from second base, the accusation did not gain traction on Tuesday.
"I'm not going to accuse anybody of something that I'm not sure of," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You don't really have to steal signs when the ball is over the heart of the plate and up. ... It just wasn't a quality night. [Latos] made a number of mistakes last night."
During a 10-9 Reds loss to the Indians, Latos got a no-decision after he gave up seven runs and eight hits over four innings while blowing three leads. Seven of the hits went for extra bases, including three homers. He felt that the Indians had "better swings on the ball than they did most of the time without a runner on second base."
- 142 wins
- 110 wins
Indians manager Manny Acta denied that any sign stealing went on.
"I don't think our kids are into that. We don't teach that," Acta said. "Hey, you're going to get hit sometimes. We go through it sometimes here, too. When kids struggle, they seem to think that people are relaying signs. There's nothing to it. This is the big leagues. Everybody can hit a 99-mph fastball, and anybody can hit a pitch over the plate. They're going to do it sometimes. They do it to the great [Justin] Verlander and some other guys."
Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan acknowledged that he and Latos changed signs in the fourth inning, but not before the damage was done. Hanigan put the responsibility of protecting signs on his own club.
"I always watch to see if the hitters at second are looking in, even while I'm giving the signs," Hanigan said. "I try to give the signs quickly and try to see if I see movement or anything. I pay attention to stuff like that to make sure it doesn't happen. If they were getting signs, it's not acceptable. It's something that's preventable. I don't think that was necessarily at all the reason why things didn't go the way they needed to go last night."
One unnamed Indians hitter felt that Latos had a more pressing issue on his hands.
"Tell him you don't have to steal signs when you're tipping pitches," he said.
Baker unsure of Friday returns for Stubbs, Bray
CLEVELAND -- Even though injured Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs is eligible for activation before Friday's series with the Twins, Reds manager Dusty Baker wasn't sure it would happen. Stubbs hasn't played since straining his left oblique muscle on June 5, and he was placed on the disabled list on Friday, retroactive to June 6.
"We're not sure yet. We have to talk to him. He still hasn't swung much," Baker said on Tuesday. "There could be a rehab assignment in there, too."
Stubbs was scheduled to hit in the indoor cage and could take batting practice on the field Wednesday.
In his latest rehab assignment appearance, Reds left-handed reliever Bill Bray worked 1 1/3 innings and allowed one hit and struck out one over 22 pitches Monday night for Triple-A Louisville.
Bray has been on the disabled list since April 24 because of a left groin strain and, later, a back injury. When asked whether Bray could return Friday, when the Reds return home, Baker was non-committal.
"It depends on the quality of pitching," Baker said. "It depends on how he looks back to back. It depends on how many pitches he throws."
Bray has five rehab outings combined with Louisville and Class A Dayton and has given up two earned runs over five innings with two walks and nine strikeouts.