Thursday, September 6, 2018

Brandon Phillips Homers To Power Red Sox Win; Rockies In First Place After Trevor Story Belts Three HRs

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 5, 2018

American League
Phillips: Game winning HR

Boston's incredible season got a little more interesting and emotional on Wednesday.

The Red Sox came back from a 7-1 eighth-inning deficit to overwhelm the Braves, 9-8 - sweeping the three-game series in Atlanta - with six runs in the eighth and a dramatic, two-run, two-out homer in the ninth by Brandon Phillips.

Phillips' game-winning blast was his first hit of the season, sending the Red Sox dugout into a euphoric celebration.

Phillips signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox in June and came up to the parent team on Tuesday but did not play. Wednesday's game was his first major league appearance since he closed out the 2017 season with the Angels.

At 37, Phillips wasn't on a major league roster to start the season, but took up the Red Sox offer and spent most of his time at AAA Pawtucket, where he hit .302 in 38 games. He played most of his major league career with the Cincinnati Reds as the regular second baseman.

Prior to his decisive blow, Phillips had walked twice, scoring in the second and eighth innings. Andrew Benintendi was on first base when Phillips launched his drive to left on the first pitch from Atlanta reliever, A.J. Minter.

After Boston tied the game at 7-all in the eighth, Atlanta slugger, Freddie Freeman put the Braves back on top, 8-7, with a solo homer in the bottom of the frame.

Craig Kimbrel pitched a hitless bottom of the ninth to seal the victory, Boston's 97th of the year. Kimbrel's save was his 38th, which is second the AL behind Seattle's Edwin Diaz, who has 53.

The Red Sox return home to Fenway Park on Friday, opening a three-game series with AL West leader, Houston.

National League

Story: 3 solo HRs 
By winning five straight, the Colorado Rockies have wrested control of the NL West from the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, leading the division by 1 1/2 games after a 5-3 win over the visiting San Francisco Giants.

Trevor Story, who has been on fire of late, socked three solo home runs to lead the Rockies. Story broke a 1-1 tie in the first inning, tied the game at three in the fourth and put the Rockies up 4-3 in the sixth. The three dingers have Story at 31 on the year, tied for third in the NL with five other players. Max Muncy of the Dodgers is second, with 32, and the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter leads the league with 34.

Story is also tied for third in RBI with 95, along with Milwaukee's Jesus Aguilar. Chicago's Javier Baez and Cincinnati's Eugenio Suarez each have 100.

Story's hot streak has coincided neatly with Colorado's ascent to the division lead. In his last six games, Story is 12-for-24 (.500) with five homers and 10 RBI.

Colorado's sweep of their three-game series with the Giants goes at an opportune time. The Rockies are in the midst of a 10-game home stand. After a day off Thursday, they host the Dodgers for three games, then welcome in the Diamondbacks for four.

The NL West has been a toss-up for most of the season, and these upcoming series can only add to the drama.

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