Phillips goes yard, twice
A 4-3 victory over the Braves has the Reds a season-high 4 games over .500 at 23-19. The Cardinals won again over SD so CIN remains a 1/2 game out of first place.
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Cincinnati has played 12-straight games against clubs with winning records (WAS, ATL, NYM, NYY, ATL) and are 7-5 in the stretch so far. Especially since it started tough vs. the Nationals, the Reds have acquitted themselves well during the past week-plus.
Dusty Baker postgame video:
The three stars of the game:
No. 3 star: Michael Bourn, ATL — 3-for-4, including the first 2 HR game of his career. Bourn’s first long ball snapped a 0-for-11 and 1-for-17 slump.
No. 2 star: Mat Latos — 7 ip, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 HR, 116 pitches/79 strikes. Latos matched his season high with seven innings pitched (last done April 24 vs SF) and had one of best efforts of the season. Following the leadoff homer by Bourn in the first, Latos retired eight in a row and nine of the next 10. He retired 11 of his last 12 as well.
“It’s about time. I felt real good, body-wise, mechanics-wise, pitches,” Latos said.
No. 1 star: Brandon Phillips — 2-for-4, 2 HRs, 3 RBIs — Phillips doubled his season home run total (now 4) with his first homers since April 24. Phillips credited both his hitting coach Brook Jacoby and Braves 3B Chipper Jones with getting his homer swing back. Phillips had gone 96 ABs without a long ball.
“I came in early today,” said Phillips, who played through a sore left hamstring for much of April and early May. “I sat down with Jacoby and just told him ‘I’m starting to feel my legs.’ He said ‘come look at this video.’ I looked at my video from last year and this year. I was more upright than I was last year. I had to change a little bit because I was playing with my hamstring earlier so I stood up a little bit so I couldn’t feel it. He said ‘just squat down lower in your stance and let’s see what happens.’ Next you thing you know my first at-bat I hit a home run. It really helped me out a lot.
“I talked to Chipper before the game too. He was telling me I have good hands and I should go out there and start using them. Me and Chipper are cool. He said that to me and I can’t believe I started hitting some home runs today. I looked down at him in the dugout and he was busting out laughing. It was pretty funny.”
News and notes:
*Aroldis Chapman, who notched save No. 2 in the ninth, hasn’t allowed an earned run since 9/10/11 at Colorado. He also has one strikeout in each of last 24 appearances going back to that game as well.
*Zack Cozart is out of his funk and 4-for-11 with two homers in his last three games.