PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- First, the Philadelphia Phillies lost the
game. Then, they lost their lead in the NL wild-card standings.
Todd Van Poppel and two relievers combined on a four-hitter,
leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 2-0 victory over the Phillies on
Saturday night.With the loss, the Phillies fell a half-game behind Florida in
the wild-card race. The Marlins blew a four-run, eighth-inning lead
against Atlanta, but rallied to win 6-5 in 11 innings."We're not worried," Phillies center fielder Marlon Byrd said.
"We have to finish up strong with a win, then go to Florida and
win the series."After Sunday's game against the Reds, Philadelphia has three
games against the Marlins in Florida.Van Poppel, a former first-round pick by Oakland in 1990
pitching for his sixth team, allowed four hits in 6 1-3 innings,
his longest outing in five years. Van Poppel (1-1) struck out five
and walked two."At this point of my career, I just want to get guys out," Van
Poppel said.Wily Mo Pena had an RBI single and Ryan Freel drove in a run on
a fielder's choice grounder for the injury-depleted Reds, the
fourth-worst team in the NL.Phil Norton pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings and Chris Reitsma
got three outs for his 10th save."They shut us down," Phillies manager Larry Bowa said.Amaury Telemaco (1-4) gave up two runs -- one earned -- and six
hits in seven innings in his seventh start since replacing Brandon
Duckworth in the rotation.Van Poppel got plenty of defensive help from the worst fielding
team in the majors. Freel made a diving catch in center to rob
Jimmy Rollins of extra bases with two outs and a runner on first in
the second. Third baseman Juan Castro started a double play in the
sixth with a sensational, backhanded diving catch on a hard
grounder down the line by Placido Polanco."Castro's play saved the game," Van Poppel said.Pena gave the Reds a 1-0 lead in the fourth with a two-out
single that drove in Sean Casey, who blooped a double down the
left-field line.Freel's RBI grounder in the seventh made it 2-0. Jason LaRue
singled to start the inning and went to third on a bouncer up the
middle by Ray Olmedo that skidded past second baseman Chase Utley.
LaRue would've been out at third on Byrd's throw, but Polanco
dropped the ball making the tag and Olmedo went to second.After Van Poppel grounded out, Freel hit a hard grounder to
shortstop. Rollins made a backhanded play, but his throw from his
knees was too late to get LaRue."There's no panic," Telemaco said. "We're going to score
runs. We're going to keep fighting."Van Poppel left after walking two batters in the seventh. Norton
came in and retired Rollins on a foul pop and pinch-hitter Jason
Michaels on a hard grounder to third."Todd has done a good job and Norton has been outstanding. He's
a keeper," Reds interim manager Dave Miley said.
Pena has 16 RBI and 31 hits. ... The Reds must win their
final seven games to avoid losing 90 games for the 14th time in
club history, and just the fourth time since 1949. ... A crowd of
35,239 turned out at Veterans Stadium, pushing the Phillies'
attendance over 2 million for the first time since 1995. ... Van
Poppel hadn't pitched past the sixth inning since going 8 1-3
innings for Texas against Arizona on June 25, 1998.