In the eighth inning of the Reds' 4-3 win in 14 innings, Hughes hit Phillips in the leg with a first pitch. Phillips flipped the ball underhanded over the mound before trotting to first base. Hughes yelled something at Phillips before umpires headed off any escalation with bench warnings.
Following the game, Phillips took to Twitter and posted the following: "#RealTalk... Not really surprised by what I heard come outta another player's mouth tonite but DAMN... Still PISSED bout that [expletive] #Racism"
Encouraged by Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, Phillips and Hughes spoke on the phone Tuesday before arriving at the ballpark.
"Phillips had my number, and texted that he wanted to talk, so I went to Hughes with it and right away he said he wanted to, too," McCutchen said.
The conversation between the two men proved productive and Phillips came away satisfied.
"Last night, it was a heated moment for me, especially being from Stone Mountain, Ga., a lot of crazy things go down and a lot of racist stuff happened from the South," Phillips said Tuesday while at his locker.
"I was real [angry] about the situation. Me and Mr. Hughes, we had a great conversation before I came to the stadium today. It was the best thing that ever happened, talking to him in general about what happened and talking to him about things that I heard and stuff. It was great just to hear what he had to say and for him to hear what I had to say. It made us feel better about the situation. I respect him as a player and also as a man from the conversation me and him had.
"It was just a big misunderstanding. When you say certain things in the heat of the moment, you don't really mean it. I understand that and you forgive people. He forgave me, and I forgive him."
Tension had brewed between the two teams in recent series, including one in Cincinnati last month when Aroldis Chapman hit McCutchen in the shoulder with a fastball in one game and Mike Leake hit Josh Harrison with a pitch in another. Hughes also applied a hard tag to Dioner Navarro in a separate incident.
But Monday's moment was the closest things had come to spilling into a fracas as players in both dugouts were at the top step before cooler heads prevailed.
That continued into Tuesday, with both teams appearing to move forward.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, some on the Pirates understood that Phillips believed he heard Hughes call him "boy," which can be deemed racially offensive by many. Hughes denied making any such comment.
"I'm not going to tell you what he said. It's between me and him," Phillips said. "I respect him as a man, and he respects me. That's what it's all about. I think everybody should just squash it. I'm going to squash it. Last night I tweeted because at that moment, that's how I felt. I don't like stuff like that, and that's how I felt."
Hughes relayed a similar sentiment.
"I just want to say Brandon Phillips is someone I've always respected as a man and as a player. I grew up watching him play, and admiring his play," Hughes said. "We talked today, and got it all cleared up. I'm glad I had a chance to tell him my side of the story myself. Anything that was said stays between Brandon and myself."
Phillips was eager to have future conversations be about the games played on the field.
"If I'm not going to worry about it, everybody shouldn't worry about it," Phillips said. "It happened to none of ya'll, it happened to me. It's between me and him. Let me and him do our job and worry about winning, instead of just this incident."