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Philadelphia Phillies beat Cincinnati Reds on Tommy Joseph's walk-off RBI

By Stephen Pianovich, The Sports Xchange

PHILADELPHIA - Teammates dumped a water cooler on Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph after his second walk-off hit in three days. It might be the only thing that can cool down the first baseman this month.

Joseph delivered the game-winning single in the ninth inning to give the Phillies a 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. It was the latest achievement for Joseph, who has been a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy May for Philadelphia.

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Joseph's clutch hit came against Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen (3-1) and scored Aaron Altherr, who led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and advanced to second base on a wild pitch.

Joseph, who homered earlier in the game, also hit a walk-off single against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

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He's soaking in the experience -- however cold it may be.

"I've watched a few people on our team run away from it in that situation," Joseph said of the celebratory water cooler bath. "I wanted to enjoy every bit of it."

It was just the sixth win in the past 27 games for the Phillies, who finally found a little bit of offense. Philadelphia hit three solo home runs in the first four innings, and it was the first time since May 19 the team scored more than three runs in a game.

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While the team struggles as a whole at the plate, Joseph has come alive this month. In 24 games in May, Joseph is hitting .321 with a 1.053 OPS and seven home runs. He does not look like the player who ended April with a .179 batting average and .476 OPS.

"At the beginning of April, I didn't think I'd have an April like I did," he said. "It was a matter of making adjustments with (Phillies hitting coach Matt Stairs) and making sure we stayed a little more consistent with what's going on. It's all about sticking with the adjustments that you make."

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Joseph was one of three Phillies players to hit solo home runs in the first four innings against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo. Cesar Hernandez led off the game with a homer, and Michael Saunders started the second inning with a long ball.

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The trio of solo home runs represented all the damage off Arroyo, who went five innings, gave up five hits and struck out four. He stranded a runner at third base in his final inning by striking out Hernandez and getting Odubel Herrera to pop out.

Arroyo, 40, has allowed 13 homers in 15 starts during his first major league season since 2014. Reds manager Bryan Price said he thinks it's an issue that could be resolved as the right-hander rebuilds his arm strength.

"As his stuff comes back, he'll have a little bit more zip," Price said. "And that's not necessarily velocity, but it's a little bit more action on the fastball. So if he makes a mistake, you'll see more balls fouled off, as opposed to them squaring them up."

Reds shortstop Zack Cozart had the best day at the plate of any player in the game. He went 4-for-4, reached base in all five plate appearances and got the Reds on the board with a two-run homer in the first inning -- his fifth home run of the year.

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The four hits were a season high for Cozart, who has 15 multi-hit games this year. He leads the Reds in hits (54) and batting average (.355).

"To see somebody who's almost at June to swing the bat with the consistency that he is, and his command of the strike zone taking his walks, it's been really impressive to me," Price said of Cozart.

Cozart hit the home run before Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff got an out. The right-hander settled in, however, and allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. It was a needed effort from a struggling rotation.

"It's easy to kind of let it slip and let the momentum carry over and carry through you to have you starting to think negatively, and all that stuff," Eickhoff said of his mentality after Cozart's homer. "But I'm very confident in myself and very confident that these guys were going to pick me up behind me."

The Phillies' bullpen pieced together 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Hector Neris (2-2) got two strikeouts in the ninth to pick up the win.

NOTES: The Phillies held a moment of silence for Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, who died late Friday at 85. Bunning spent six of his 17 major league seasons with the Phillies and the franchise retired his number 14. Bunning was a nine-time All-Star and spent 12 years in the U.S. Senate, representing Kentucky. ...Reds CF Billy Hamilton improved upon his major league lead in stolen bases with his 26th of the season. Hamilton swiped second base in the first inning, and has three steals in the first two games of the series. ... Phillies 2B Cesar Hernandez led off the game with a home run. It was the fourth career leadoff homer for Hernandez. He hit only six homers in 155 games last year.

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