WASHINGTON -- Following a five-game stretch out of the starting lineup because of a cramp in his left hamstring, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was back on Sunday vs. the Nationals. Phillips was 1-for-4 in the Reds' 8-5, 11-inning win, but clearly wasn't 100 percent. On a sacrifice bunt in the seventh, he stopped running hard halfway down the line. He said he didn't aggravate the injury, however. "When I was pushing, I felt it grab and decided I should take my time for a little bit," Phillips said. "In the field, I had forgotten all about it."
Phillips also hit a one-out double in the ninth inning and could not run at full speed. He was lifted for pinch-runner Wilson Valdez as a precaution. Phillips was in his customary leadoff spot, after manager Dusty Baker initially considered batting him further down in the order. He was thinking about preserving his legs from running, a usual requisite for the top spot. "With [Nationals starter Ross] Detwiler being left-handed, we probably won't try to steal that much anyway," Baker said before the game. "He has a pretty good move. [Phillips] is the best candidate. I talked to [Phillips] about it and he said he'd rather bat leadoff. I told him to not do anything excessive." Without Phillips, who pinch-hit once on Friday and struck out, the Reds lost four of their previous five games. "We need an igniter in that position, and he's it," Baker said pregame. "He hits well against left-handers, so everything pointed towards Brandon."