By Joe McDonald at 20 July, 2013, 2:08 am
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The Cincinnati Reds emerged victorious in the opener of a big weekend series with the Pittsburgh Pirates thanks to none other than Brandon Phillips. Yes, the same Brandon Phillips who we learned earlier on Friday felt like his 72.5 million contract with the Reds was a "slap in the face."
After getting that off his chest in an interview with Cincinnati magazine, Phillips proceeded to slap around Pirates hurler Justin Wilson — who relieved starter Francisco Liriano — with a huge bases-clearing double in the fourth inning. That extended Cincinnati's lead to 5-0. They would hold to win it 5-3 after Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Russell Martin each solo homers in the sixth.
Hey, I think we'd all agree there's no better way for a dissatisfied athlete to take out his or her frustrations than by elevating their performance on the field. That's exactly what Phillips did on Friday, and manager Dusty Baker wasn't a bit surprised.
Here's more from the Associated Press:
Phillips' excellence with runners on base has helped the Reds get through the loss of cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick, who tore cartilage in his right shoulder while sliding into base on opening day.
''He's been our RBI clutch man all season,'' Baker said. ''You certainly need a guy like that in the middle of your lineup, because he's going to come up with men on base.''
One of those men who is always on base is Joey Votto. That may explain why he got the $200 million deal, but I'm pretty sure Phillips will end up just fine.