CINCINNATI – Scooter Gennett's ninth-inning blast notwithstanding, the home run did in the Reds again.
The home run hex on Reds pitchers didn’t take long to rub off on Scott Feldman - exactly one batter - and ruined Opening Day for the new Reds starter and a record regular-season crowd at Great American Ball Park on Monday.
The fans went home buzzing after Gennett, a Cincinnati native picked off waivers last week, hit a two-run, two-out homer in the ninth. But it wasn't enough to keep the Phillies from taking a 4-3 victory.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 3, 2017
Making his first Reds start, Feldman gave up solo homers to leadoff hitter Cesar Hernandez in the first and to Freddy Galvis in the second. He lasted only 4 2/3 innings and left the Reds behind 3-1.
"Any time you don't make it through five innings, it's tough to pull any positives out of it," Feldman said.
Until the ninth, the Reds couldn’t get much going offensively. Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson held the Reds in check for the second straight Opening Day, but this year’s outcome was different. Hellickson, who lost a 6-1 decision last year despite surrendering just three hits in six innings, got his revenge this time. He not only held the Reds to one run through five innings, he also tripled home the eventual winning run.
Reds starters allowed 155 homers last season, most in the majors, and the bullpen gave up a major league-record 103 homers as well. Monday’s crowd of 43,804 must have been thinking “Here we go again” in the first two innings. If the forecast of rain didn’t keep them away, the forecast of another season of raining gopher balls might over time.
Rain came down heavy during the middle innings, but the game went on without delay.
Feldman wasn’t all that bad despite digging a 3-0 hole in the first two innings. The 34-year-old free-agent signee managed to keep the Phillies scoreless for the next 2 2/3 innings and struck out six Phillies along the way.
But the Reds, who had nine hits, flubbed three big scoring chances while leaving 17 runners on base.
The Reds loaded the bases with no outs in the third, and Billy Hamilton’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly got one run in. But Jose Peraza grounded into a double play.
In the fourth, the Reds got the bases loaded again, but Zack Cozart flied out to left to end the threat.
Feldman was gassed by the fifth inning. He got the first two batters, but after Howie Kendrick doubled for his third hit and Odubel Herrera walked, Feldman had thrown 99 pitches, and Barrett Astin replaced him.
A Cozart error loaded the bases, but Astin got out of the jam by getting Michael Saunders to ground out to first.
Hellickson’s two-out triple off Blake Wood in the sixth made it 4-1 and ended the Phillies' scoring. Right fielder Scott Schebler failed to make a diving catch of the pitcher's liner, letting the ball get by him as Hellickson chugged across the muddy infield.
Hellickson was gassed at that point, too, after running the bases.
"I'm never doing that again," said Hellickson. "I'm stopping at second no matter what. I was catching my breath for about 30 minutes when I came back in here."
Hellickson gave up a leadoff double to Adam Duvall in the bottom of the sixth and left the game. But Duvall was stranded after Joaquin Benoit struck out Suarez and Schebler and got Cozart to line out to center.
The Reds threatened again in the seventh. Tucker Barnhart walked but was doubled off when pinch-hitter Gennett hit a screamer to first. Hamilton followed with a triple, but Peraza struck out.
The Reds' ninth started innocently off reliever Jeanmar Gomez. Schebler singled, Cozart struck out and Barnhart flied out. Schebler took second on catcher's indifference and Gennett homered to left, but Hamilton flied out to end it.
Drew Storen, Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias pitched scoreless innings in relief for the Reds.
The Phillies had 10 hits (seven for extra bases) and left 15 on base.
Phillies: After a day off Tuesday, the teams resume their series. RH Jerad Eickhoff makes his first appearance against the Reds. He went 14-17 last season.
Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts against the Phillies last season. He had 15 quality starts last season, second to Dan Straily for the staff lead.