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Reds hope Phillips' walk-off hit ends recent funk

Reds hope Phillips' walk-off hit ends recent funk

Reds hope Phillips' walk-off hit ends recent funk

CINCINNATI -- It's not hard to trace the origin of Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips' recent hitting funk. Phillips hasn't been the same since June 1, when he was plunked on the left forearm by Pirates reliever Tony Watson.

Now Cincinnati hopes they can pinpoint the end of it: Phillips' walk-off single up the middle in Wednesday's 2-1, 13-inning win against the Pirates.

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"I haven't been myself lately," Phillips said after the win. "To come through like that, I was due. It felt good just to hit the ball up the middle and come through for the team. It was a team effort. We stayed in the game and we really wanted this win."

The bruised left forearm suffered from a Watson fastball put Phillips out of action for four games. In the 13 games since he returned to the lineup, he is batting .179 (10-for-56) and is 3-for-26 on the homestand. Though he hit the winner in the 13th inning Wednesday, he went 1-for-5 with a walk, a strikeout and three left on base.

There is still a noticeable welt on Phillips' forearm, but he refused to make excuses.

"If I'm on the field, I have to do my job," Phillips said before the game. "I'll be all right. I will be back to normal. Ever since I got hit, I haven't been doing [anything.] It stinks though. I'll find a way to get it going."

In Tuesday's 4-0 loss to Pittsburgh, Phillips was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

"I'm not going to blame it on my arm," Phillips said. "I'm going to blame it on my performance. I'm swinging at bad pitches. I'm getting myself out."

Phillips is batting .270 with 10 home runs, and his 58 RBIs are tied for second-most in the National League. On Wednesday afternoon, he talked briefly with Dusty Baker in the manager's office.

"He's just trying too hard more than anything," Baker said. "He's swinging at bad pitches. Nobody is going to hit swinging at bad pitches. Even though [Jay] Bruce is hot behind him, they're still not giving [Phillips] a lot to hit. He's got to be more selective.

"He'll get better. He's trying to make up for lost time. You can't make up for lost time."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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