Phillies take series, move up a game

Phillies take series, move up a game

CINCINNATI -- One back.

The Phillies did what they have to do in their mad dash to the finish line -- beat the Reds, 6-3 -- and owe a favor to the Cubs for hooking them up by defeating the Astros on Sunday.

With six games left in the season, Philadelphia trails Houston by one game in the National League Wild Card race.

"We have to win all of them, but we have to take them one at a time," said manager Charlie Manuel. "Hopefully, it's going to be good enough. We have to make up [one] game somehow."

Philadelphia did to Randy Keisler what it should have done to Eric Milton a day earlier, strike early, then hold on for the win.

Jimmy Rollins took care of the early strike with his 12th career leadoff home run and extended his hitting streak to 30 games. He's one away from tying Ed Delahanty's franchise record, accomplished in 1899 -- not that he's thinking about that.

"My main thing is how am I going to be productive today?" Rollins said. "I don't have any idea until it happens, but I'm always thinking about it. As long as we win, that's really my focus."

Rollins' homer was the first of two first-inning runs off Keisler. Jason Michaels walked and scored on a two-out single by David Bell.

Bell started a two-out rally in the third with a walk and came around on Ryan Howard's double for Philadelphia's third run. Chase Utley delivered an inside-the-park home run in the fifth.

Cory Lidle (12-11) stayed tough for seven innings, concentrating on getting outs rather than being perfect. He allowed nine baserunners, but found ways out of jams.

"There was twice today where I didn't care if the run scored," said Lidle. "I didn't want to give them a chance to have a big inning. I just wanted to get the next hitter."

He yielded to Ugueth Urbina for the eighth, and Billy Wagner recorded his 36th save with a perfect ninth.

Keisler survived five innings and lost his first game of the season, dropping to 2-1.

As the Phillies dressed for their charter flight after the win, a lot of players were distracted by the events in Chicago, where the Astros were losing, then beating the Cubs. Houston lost in the end, and Philadelphia got its necessary break.

"We have to continue to play with everything to lose," said Wagner. "We have to win, and somehow, the Astros have to lose."

Bingo.

"We can't lose any games right now," added Bobby Abreu. "This is exciting because everything counts. Every at-bat and every play means so much for the team."

Manuel hopes to see a packed house at Citizens Bank Park when the Phillies return for their final homestand against the Mets starting Monday night.

"I hope we have a big crowd," Manuel said. "I think Saturday's game might help us. It's a good time for us to have a big homestand. We need it."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.