Brandon Phillips’ baseball career was on life support in June.
Oh, how things have changed.
The 37-year-old infielder signed with the Boston Red Sox on June 27, but was sent to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he played until Boston called him up Tuesday. Phillips’ patience paid off, as he found himself in the lineup Wednesday in the Red Sox’s series finale against the Atlanta Braves — his first Major League Baseball game in nearly a year
And, well, let’s just say he made a good impression.
The four-time All-Star ripped a two-run, go-ahead home run with two outs in the ninth inning to cap Boston’s memorable comeback win at SunTrust Park. For Phillips, it was an opportunity to leave his mark on a team that he’s become a big fan of.
“It was a tough game at the beginning, but we came back, we don’t give up,” Phillips said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I’ve been watching these guys while I was down there in the bushes, trying to get up here to help these guys out.
” … And I saw that they always coming back when they’re down, they never give up, and I’m happy I could be a part of that today.”
Whether Phillips will make Boston’s playoff roster remains to be seen, of course. For now, he’s just happy to be playing the game he loves.
“I’m rather speechless right now, I’m happy to be back in the major leagues,” he said. ” … Hopefully there’s many more games I can come through and help out when they need me.”
When the Red Sox traded for second baseman Ian Kinsler in July, it was fair to wonder whether the team had given up on Phillips, despite his impressive performance with the Pawtucket Red Sox. But Phillips kept working, Boston’s minor league staff kept vouching for him and the results were on full display Wednesday afternoon.
“Credit to to him, credit to (the PawSox coaching staff), our whole minor league department, because they kept pushing. They felt like he was playing good baseball,” Cora said after the game.
” … He wants to win a (championship), and great way to start off.”
Here some other news and notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Braves game:
— Phillips’ big game wasn’t just memorable; it was historic.
— The Red Sox trailed 7-1 entering the eighth inning. The offense caught fire, sending home six runs to tie the game.
“Honestly, that was the most fun I’ve had the whole season, just watching the last few innings,” Cora said.
” … We stole a game.”
— Drew Pomeranz relieved starter Hector Velazquez in the fifth inning, and he struggled mightily. The left-hander surrendered five earned runs and only recorded one out.
— Boston’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot now is four. It’s magic number to clinch the American League East is 14.
Thumbnail photo via Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports Images