CINCINNATI — Brandon Phillips hit a three-run homer in his new role as Cincinnati's cleanup hitter, and Joey Votto drove in the winning run with a ninth-inning single Wednesday night, rallying the Reds to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Votto's first hit of the season off left-hander and former Kentucky player Scott Downs (0-1) deflected off the glove of first baseman Albert Pujols and rolled into the outfield, allowing Shin-Soo Choo to score from second base. Choo reached when he was hit by a pitch and advanced on a sacrifice.
Votto had been 0-for-6 heading into the decisive at-bat.
Phillips moved into the cleanup spot because of Ryan Ludwick's injury and hit the Reds' first homer of the season. He connected for a three-run shot against C.J. Wilson in the fourth inning, when Cincinnati sent nine batters to the plate for four runs.
Never miss a local story.
Left-hander Aroldis Chapman (1-0) walked one in the ninth, throwing a 99 mph pitch that hit the backstop screen.
Mat Latos, who took the loss in the deciding Game 5 of Cincinnati's playoff series against San Francisco last season, left with a 4-3 lead in the seventh. He gave up a solo homer by Howie Kendrick, and a two-run shot by Alberto Callaspo on his 100th and final pitch.
The Angels tied it with the help of third baseman Todd Frazier's error in the eighth, pulling even on Mark Trumbo's run-scoring groundout.
Phillips moved from second in the batting order to cleanup. Reserve Chris Heisey becomes the everyday left fielder while Ludwick recuperates.
The new lineup had one very good inning.
Heisey walked in the fourth inning, as did Votto. Phillips, who flied out to the warning track in his first at-bat, then homered for a 3-0 lead. It was a breakthrough for the Reds, who managed only three hits and one run — on a wild pitch — during a 3-1, 13-inning loss on opening day.
Jay Bruce followed with a double and scored on Frazier's single.
Latos was on his game from the start. He fanned seven in the first five innings. Once again, the bottom of the Angels' order produced the most.
The Angels' power hitters have failed to connect.
Pujols is 0-for-7 with two strikeouts. Josh Hamilton is 0-for-8 with three strikeouts.
The Reds called up 25-year-old outfielder Derrick Robinson to take Ludwick's roster spot. He has yet to play in the major leagues.
Angels at Reds
When: 12:35 p.m.
Pitchers: Angels, Joe Blanton (0-0), Reds, Bronson Arroyo (0-0)
TV: Fox Sports Ohio