Young outfielder goes yard while pinch-hitting for Garza in fifth inning
By Carson Mason
MILWAUKEE -- Sunday's series finale between the Brewers and Phillies was full of Major League firsts for Brett Phillips.
The young Brewers outfielder, ranked as the club's No. 10 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, not only hit his first Major League home run, but he also received his first curtain call in the Crew's 5-2 loss to the Phillies at Miller Park.
"The home run was fun and exciting, but a win would've been a lot cooler to go along with it," Phillips said.
Pinch-hitting for starter Matt Garza, who threw just 71 pitches over five innings of one-run ball, Phillips cranked a go-ahead two-run homer off Jeremy Hellickson's 81.2-mph changeup. The dinger traveled a Statcast-projected 370 feet, and gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead, their first of the game.
After trotting around the bases, Phillips joyfully skipped through the receiving line in the Brewers dugout termed as the "home run gauntlet," exchanging high fives and elbow bumps with his teammates. He embraced Orlando Arcia in a big bear hug, and returned out of the dugout pumping his fist into the air at the Miller Park crowd.
"That's going to be memorable," Phillips said. "The fans of Milwaukee made it extra special with the curtain call calling me out there, celebrating with the team for that short period of time. It was just an incredible feeling."
Brewers manager Craig Counsell added, "To me, it's his first big moment here. I thought even in the game [Saturday], as the at-bats went on his swings got a little better. It looked like he started feeling a little comfortable in his at-bats. It's a great moment, and whatever happens to Brett the rest of the year, it's something he can lean on moving forward here."
Adding more excitement to the milestone, Phillips said Ryan Braun and Keon Broxton predicted the home run before the game.
"Broxton was talking about how he hit his first home run. It was a pinch-hit, as well. They were talking about that like, 'Today's the day. You're going to get a pinch-hit and hit a homer.' Sure enough, pinch-hit homer, which was super funny and cool, too," Phillips said.
Phillips, who is in his third stint with the Brewers, was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday. He made his Major League debut on June 5 vs. the Giants, and recorded his first Major League hit off Jeff Samardzija. The homer came at a time crucial for Phillips, who was 2-for-14 with two singles and nine strikeouts prior to his at-bat Sunday.
"It gives me some confidence," Phillips said. "But it's one of those things, I've just got to continue to get better on a daily basis and do whatever I can to help this team win on a daily basis."
Carson Mason is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.