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Phillips comes up just short of rare Reds cycle

Phillips comes up just short of rare Reds cycle

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DENVER -- After his first three at-bats Friday night, Brandon Phillips was a single shy of the sixth cycle in franchise history and first since Eric Davis accomplished the feat in 1989. Davis had been the first Reds player to hit for the cycle since Frank Robinson did it in '59.

"If I would have [done] it, I would have called Eric Davis and I would have said, 'Hey, man, I finally did two things that you did. 30-30 and hit for the cycle,'" Phillips said, taking pride in sharing records with the former Reds great. "It would have been nice to do it, but it is what it is. It just feels good to go out there and produce for the team. That's what it's all about."

Phillips tripled in the first, homered in the third and doubled in the fifth, getting two more cracks to complete the cycle.

"I was pulling for him," manager Dusty Baker said. "I never hit for the cycle. The hard one to hit is a triple, and he hit that right away. I said, 'This dude's got a chance for the cycle.'"

Phillips did tie and surpass his career high for RBIs with his 98th and 99th RBIs in his first two at-bats, and if he hits 100 RBIs, he'll be the first Reds second baseman to hit the milestone since Joe Morgan hit 111 in 1976. If Phillips does it without increasing his 17 home runs to 20 by the end of the season, he'll be the first Reds player since '59 to drive in 100 runs with fewer than 20 home runs. Gus Bell plated 115 that year with 19 home runs.

"[Driving in runs without home runs] is even more valuable, because if you're driving in runs by hitting home runs, you're driving yourself in," Baker said. "So if you take away the amount of home runs from your RBIs and then take probably half of those where somebody's on base, then you get a true number of home many RBIs you drive in."

Baker's logic takes Phillips' 99 RBIs, subtracts 17 home runs and another 10 for roughly the number of men on base for Phillips home runs, leaving 73 "true" RBIs.

"You got to be a clutch," Baker said. You got to have somebody on in front of you, which helps."

Phillips did most of his damage from the cleanup spot, but now he's back in the two-hole, where he opened the season.

"I told Brandon before, he was in a position to drive in runs, " Baker said. "But now he's in a position to get on base. His on-base percentage since he's been batting second is something like .600. The role changes depending on where you bat in the order. "

Prior to Sunday's game, Phillips' OBP when batting second was .533.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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