CINCINNATI -- The Phillies pounded the ball all over the lot in beating the Cincinnati Reds on opening day.
In the second game of the season, they barely hit it out of the infield.
The Phils were held to just four hits -- and three of them did not leave the infield -- in a 2-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night (see Instant Replay).
Jerad Eickhoff delivered a strong start in his season debut, but ended up with the loss when he gave up a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Joey Votto's solo homer leading off the frame was the game's big blow.
"Not enough hits," said manager Pete Mackanin, sounding like he did often last season when the Phillies finished last in the majors with 610 runs.
"We played a clean game. The bats just weren't going."
Cincinnati lefty Brandon Finnegan had something to do with that. For seven innings, he hooked up in a fast-moving pitchers' duel with Eickhoff. Both pitchers were really good in their season debuts. Finnegan was just a little better, holding the Phillies to one hit over seven innings. He struck out nine. For the game, Phillies hitters struck out 13 times.
"You've got to give Finnegan credit," Mackanin said. "He was tough."
Finnegan actually labored through a 25-pitch first inning in which he gave up a hard-hit, two-out single to left-center by Maikel Franco. After that, he set down 19 Phillies hitters in a row.
"In that first inning, I thought we were going to set the tone of the game but then he settled down after that," Mackanin said. "We just couldn't do anything against the guy. I credit him for a well-pitched game."
Eickhoff breezed through the first six innings on 66 pitches. He gave up the game's first run when Votto led off the bottom of the seventh by swatting a 1-0 curveball into the right-field seats. Eickhoff then allowed a double to Adam Duvall on another curveball and was chased from the game on a two-out, RBI hit by Zack Cozart.
Three of the five hits Eickhoff gave up came in that seventh inning.
"It was up, a hanging curveball," Mackanin said of the pitch to Votto. "As well as [Eickhoff] pitched, some of his curveballs had tight spin and others were just kind of rolling. Those two [to Votto and Duvall] were kind of rolling. It happens. He only gave up two runs and pitched a heck of a good ballgame."
Eickhoff admitted that the curveball to Duvall was not sharp.
But, in his view, the one to Votto was not bad.
"The homer to Votto, the 1-0 curveball, it's kind of one of those things where I threw one of my better pitches," Eickhoff said. "You just tip your cap. I think it might have fooled him a little but he was able to keep his hands back and put the barrel on it and he's strong enough to put it out of the park."
Eickhoff made 33 starts last year. He delivered a quality start -- six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs -- in 20 of them.
He already has his first quality start this season.
But he also has his first loss.
Run support continues to be a problem for Eickhoff. He has made 42 big-league starts since coming up in August 2015. His mates have scored one or zero runs (while he's been in the game) in 18 of those starts.
"It's a shame," Mackanin said. "But he can't control that. He always gets after it and does his part."
Eickhoff is one of the most levelheaded guys in the clubhouse. Sure, he'd like to get eight runs every time out. But he's not about to complain about the situation.
"I can't control that," he said. "Those guys are busting their butt every day to get hits, working in the cage. I can't control it. I'm just trying to get outs and when I walk off the mound hopefully I kept us in the game."
He did that in this one.
The Phils actually got a little something going in the eighth, after Finnegan departed. Aaron Altherr and Cameron Rupp both had infield singles with no outs against hard-throwing Michael Lorenzen. Up came Freddy Galvis.
Mackanin thought about bunting, but decided to play for the big inning.
"To play for a tie there with the way we swung tonight, I just thought that maybe Freddy could hit a double or something like that," Mackanin said.
Lorenzen struck out Galvis and pinch-hitter Michael Saunders before ending the threat by getting Cesar Hernandez on a ground ball.
There was some unexpected excitement in the ninth when Odubel Herrera reached on an infield hit and, with his team down two runs and the first baseman not holding him tight, decided to steal second with two outs and Tommy Joseph at the plate. At first, Herrera was called out and it looked like the game had ended in ignominious fashion for the Phillies. The call was overturned moments later and Herrera was off the hook. Joseph ended up striking out to end the game.
Mackanin was not thrilled with Herrera's move and said he would speak to the player.
"He made it," Mackanin said. "That's all I'm going to say."