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Reds 2B Phillips makes up for error in Cincinnati’s 12-4 victory over Brewers

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COLIN FLY
April 10, 2008
— Brandon Phillips couldn’t help but laugh.

No, the situation wasn’t funny after he had just given up two unearned runs with an ugly error when the ball rolled right through his legs, but he quickly redeemed himself.


“You saw me laughing,” Phillips said. “That (doesn’t) normally happen.”


Phillips scored twice off a pair of heady baserunning plays, Adam Dunn and Corey Patterson each hit two-run homers and the Cincinnati Reds scored 10 straight runs in a 12-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night.


“We had some uncharacteristic errors out there,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “That seemed to wake us up even more.”


Phillips, who had an NL best fielding percentage for second basemen last year, let Rickie Weeks’ hot grounder go right underneath his glove in the fifth inning to give Milwaukee its first lead at 3-2.


“When it hit the grass it took a big hop and then when it hit the dirt it just stayed down on me,” said Phillips, who signed a four-year contract to stay in Cincinnati this offseason. “I can’t make all the plays. That’s one thing I learned last year, don’t try to do too much, learn from your mistakes early and just play the game. The next thing you know I came up with a big hit.”


And a baserunning play that broke the game open.


The next inning, Ken Griffey Jr. singled and advanced to second on a balk by Brewers starter Dave Bush. Then Phillips singled to put men on the corners, setting up Dunn’s sacrifice fly that tied the game at 3.


On the play, Phillips tagged up from first, then he took off again during Jeff Keppinger’s at-bat, scoring as Keppinger’s single went through the space Brewers third baseman Bill Hall would have occupied had Phillips not been on the move.


Baker wouldn’t say if he’d called a hit-and-run, but Phillips was more than willing to share the strategy.


“I was stealing, I was just trying to get to third,” said Phillips, who had to jump to avoid being struck by the ball on the basepaths.


That run chased Bush (0-2) and Javier Valentin hit an RBI single off Brewers reliever David Riske to give the Reds a 5-3 lead.


“The next thing you know, we score like 10 runs,” Phillips said. “We just started raking.”


Bush, who may be out of the starting rotation with the imminent return of Yovani Gallardo, said he’s not worried about his performance.


“It’s part of the game,” Bush said. “Sometimes you hit line drives right at people, and sometimes they find holes with ground balls. It’s all part of it, nothing to get worked up about.”


The Brewers’ bullpen imploded from there, giving up seven runs over the final three innings, including Dunn’s first homer of the season in the seventh and Patterson’s second home run in as many days in the ninth.


“Those last innings were tough,” said Brewers manager Ned Yost, who worked to completely retool his bullpen in the offseason by adding four new arms. “You give up 10 runs in the last four ... not good.”


Phillips’ legs also helped manufacture Cincinnati’s first two runs in the second, when he stole third base and gambled by tagging up on Scott Hatteberg’s shallow sacrifice fly to right field with Dunn at second.


It paid off as Corey Hart’s throwing error allowed both to score, but it wasn’t until the scoring binge that Reds starter Josh Fogg (1-1) could finally relax. Fogg earned his first win for Cincinnati after signing in the offseason following his pivotal role for the NL champion Rockies last season.


“I told Griff if I get 12 a night, I’ll be a pretty good pitcher this year,” Fogg joked.



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