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Improving Phillips returns to leadoff spot

Improving Phillips returns to leadoff spot

PHILADELPHIA -- A profound slump had second baseman Brandon Phillips moved out of his usual leadoff spot the final week of the season. After he was hit on the back of his right hand by a pitch Aug. 25, Phillips batted .198 (21-for-106) over the next 28 games. Drew Stubbs was put in the leadoff spot for many of those final games.

Reds manager Dusty Baker liked how Phillips' swing responded after being moved down and had him back in the leadoff position for Game 1 of the National League Division Series vs. the Phillies.

"I figured he can handle it the best in the situation," Baker said prior to Wednesday's history-making contest, in which the Reds were no-hit by Roy Halladay in a 4-0 loss. "I was giving him a blow and now he's back. Things are always subject to change, but right now, I feel comfortable with him in there. He's swinging the bat well, and Stubbs has been such a very good RBI guy. Especially with two outs, you're going to need some RBIs down at the bottom of the order."

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Unfortunately, Phillips -- along with the rest of his teammates -- couldn't get anything going against Halladay on Wednesday. Phillips was one of Halladay's eight strikeouts, going down swinging in the fourth. He also grounded out weakly for the 27th and final out of the game.

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