CINCINNATI - More than 15 years after being drafted by the Reds, Paul Bako finally had a chance to give Cincinnati a win.
And he came through, hitting an infield single with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning to lift the Reds over the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Saturday.
"I was talking with (Reds trainer) Mark Mann, and we were wondering what the longest time is between being drafted and playing for the team that drafted you," said Bako, who was drafted in 1993 then traded away by the Reds in November 1997. "It's nice to be here - to be with the organization that you were drafted by. It's a lot of fun."
After playing for nine teams, Bako signed with the Reds as a free agent this offseason.
Ryan Howard, who has hit a combined 105 homers over the previous two seasons, gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead with his first homer of the season in the eighth inning off Kent Mercker.
Right-hander Chad Durbin (0-1) walked Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion to start the inning. Ryan Freel pinch-ran for Dunn, and both runners moved up on pinch-hitter Norris Hopper's sacrifice. The Phillies then brought in their infield and outfield, and Bako hit a twisting bouncer that shortstop Jimmy Rollins backhanded, but couldn't get out of his glove in time to throw out Freel at home.
"Sometimes, it's better to hit it where they're not instead of hitting it hard," Bako said. "I'm glad it worked out there."