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Bruce wins postponed game for Reds with walk-off hit

Jay Bruce doffed his helmet after his walk-off single, and that proved to be a mistake. Moments later, teammates Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Heisey — and then about everyone else — congratulated him by bear-hugging him and pounding him on the head like they were playing Whack-a-Mole.

Bruce escaped their clutches with a big smile and raced toward the dugout. After all, there was another game to play on this not-quite-a-doubleheader day.

The Reds beat the Phillies 1-0 on Wednesday afternoon and didn’t need much time to finish a game that was postponed by rain at 10:48 p.m. Tuesday in the middle of the ninth. The teams combined to send 52 batters to the plate Tuesday without scoring, but when the game resumed at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Reds needed four at-bats to win it.

Zack Cozart singled to the start the inning. Joey Votto, who walks more than the Hobbits in Lord of the Rings, strolled to first with his major league-best 22nd walk.

Then Brandon Phillips hit a fly to center that the Phillies’ Ben Revere, who made two amazing catches in the first game of the series Monday, dropped. One batter later, with the bases loaded, Bruce singled to right to score Cozart and end the game.

The Reds and Phillies then returned to their clubhouses to get ready for the final game of the series at 7:10 p.m.

“It was good to get that one out of the way,” Bruce said, “and get ready for the second game. You can’t discount the at-bats the players before me took, and we’ve had a lot of that this year. That’ll be a trend for our team, and it usually is. It’s exciting.”

The Reds evened their record at 7-7 and improved to 6-2 at home with their second walk-off victory. Aroldis Chapman, who pitched the ninth on Tuesday before the rain returned, recorded his second victory.

It was the Reds’ second shutout and their first 1-0 win since Homer Bailey’s no-hitter last September.

“Our guys came out ready,” manager Dusty Baker said. “They wanted to win right away. We didn’t have to go deep into our bullpen.”

Cingrani to start: As expected, the Reds will promote left-hander Tony Cingrani from Triple-A Louisville to start against the Marlins in the first of a three-game series at 7:10 p.m. today. He will take the spot of injured ace Johnny Cueto, who will miss from two to four starts because of a strained lat muscle in his back.

Cingrani has made three starts and pitched 14 1/3 scoreless innings with three hits and two walks in Louisville. Baker isn’t especially eager to see Cingrani take the mound, only because he would rather have Cueto out there.

“We’re here to win ballgames, not to see who the next rising star is, even though it’s exciting,” Baker said. “We just want him to fit in. I’m hoping he can come in with some quality and we don’t miss a beat with Johnny out. That’s what the depth of the organization is about.”

Cingrani’s start will end a stretch of 180 straight games the Reds have started a right-handed pitcher. That’s the second-longest streak in franchise history.

The Reds haven’t started a lefty since Dontrelle Willis took the mound Sept. 29, 2011.

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