You knew if the game went long enough Lance Berkman was going to hurt the Reds.
Young Mike Leake dodged the Berkman Bullet three times with runners on, including the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Berkman hit the ball as hard as he's hit any of his 21 Great American Ball Park home runs but couldn't get it in the air.
Brandon Phillips turned in a pair of nifty double plays and Berkman grounded hard up the middle to Orlando Cabrera but the Reds arch-enemies .235 batting average continued to sink slowly into the west.
"I had a lot of chances to drive in runs," Berkman said. "It was tough. It got frustrating but I felt good about the swings and the at bats themselves. I knew if I kept doing it the ball would fall in somewhere."
The ball that fell in was a line shot off Micah Owings down the rightfield line. Owings didn't do himself any favors by walking pinch hitter, Cory Sullivan and Michael Bourne to allow the Rice graduate another chance to be distasteful during the Taste of Cincinnati weekend.
Felipe Paulino was 0-7 but the record belies a talented right arm. On a hot humid 86 degree day, throwing 96 miles an hour through eight innings, he put a chill into Reds bats that scored 27 runs in the previous two games. Paulino is still 0-7 but his manager, Brad Mills said," It was his game."
Mills was going to pull the 26-year old after he walked Chris Heisey on four pitches to start the ninth.
"I went out there and I wanted him to want it. I was a little nervous when he walked the leadoff hitter on four pitches but to tell me he could do it, then do it. The progress he's made in the last few games was leaps and bounds. I was going to get him but if fought it, he'd given his heart and soul, it was his game," Mills said.
Mike Leake has become a hard luck pitcher. In his last two starts the Reds have scored just one run, while Leake has allowed just one in 13 1/3 innings. The one that scored was earned but it was made possible by a fly ball that should have been caught.
"He has more movement than he's given credit for," Berkman said. "He has a good feel for moving the ball in and out. He keeps the ball down. Some guys you face like Brandon Webb you feel the ball drops two feet. Leake's doesn't look like it is but if you look, it breaks late and it moves more than you give it credit for. That's why he's able to induce ground balls. You know going up that he's going to throw sinkers. There's got to be something that gets professional hitters to hit the ball in the ground."
"I feel like we excaped with one win here," Berkman said as he left town. Dusty Baker was happy to see him go.