Red Sox infielder Brandon Phillips hits game winning home run in team debut
By Sean Penney
The Boston Red Sox completed a thrilling comeback victory against the Atlanta Braves with a two-run homer from newcomer Brandon Phillips.
Brandon Phillips sure knows how to make a great first impression. All he did in his Boston Red Sox debut was seal a wild comeback victory with one swing of the bat.
The Red Sox found themselves down early in Wednesday afternoon’s getaway game in Atlanta, trailing the Braves 7-1 until the eighth inning. That’s when Boston’s bats finally got going, exploding for six runs in the frame to tie the game.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman responded with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning to put Atlanta back on top by one. Those who aren’t Red Sox fans may have been thinking this was a pretty “sweet comeback.”
Sure, that was fine. Except Freeman’s heroics had nothing on Phillips.
With two outs in the top of the ninth, Phillips stepped to the plate with the game on the line. He wasted no time swinging for the fences, taking a powerful uppercut swing to the first pitch he saw from Braves closer A.J. Minter. Boom! Two-run homer. Comeback completed.
The home run by Philips was the first ever in the 9th inning or later by a Red Sox hitter making their team debut.
Now, that’s a great way to make friends on a new team.
Phillips, who started the game at second base before sliding over the third late in the game, finished 1-for-3 with a pair of walks, two RBI and three runs scored.
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Phillips began last season with the Braves, only to be shipped to the Los Angeles Angels in an August waiver deal. Perhaps there was a bit of a revenge narrative for Phillips in this game?
The Red Sox signed Phillips to a minor league deal earlier this summer expecting him to provide insurance at second base in the event that Dustin Pedroia couldn’t return. Boston ended up making a deadline deal for Ian Kinsler, negating the need for Phillips and delaying his debut until after September roster expansions.
The 37-year old hit a solid .304/.348/.474 with five home runs and 26 RBI in 44 minor league games this season. Clearly, he still has something left in the tank. His playing time may be limited down the stretch but moments like this could afford him some extra opportunities. If nothing else, Phillips is known to be a good clubhouse guy. He’ll certainly be popular with his teammates after this game.
Phillips joins the team as the only player in franchise history to wear the No. 0 on his jersey. He may have a zero on his back but he’s No. 1 in the eyes of Red Sox Nation. At least for today.