Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 4/9/12
CINCINNATI Brandon Phillips slashed a solid single to center field off Miami's Carlos Zambrano and was startled when the Great American Ball Park crowd erupted. The fans kept roaring and stood applauding. A perplexed Phillips looked at first base coach Billy Hatcher and said, "What's that all about?" Said Hatcher, "Damned if I know." Phillips shook his head and took his lead off first base, still wondering, "Why the hell is everybody standing up? Why is everybody clapping?" Phillips didn't say it, but it had to be in the back of his mind that the fans were giving him support in his pursuit of an extension on his contract, which the Cincinnati Reds say is forthcoming in the near future. But that wasn't it. It was Phillip's 1,000th hit as a member of the Reds and as he said, "It was just a regular hit, a regular single. I didn't know anything about it until the end of the inning when the announcer said, 'Congratulations to Brandon Phillips, his 1,000th his for the Cincinnati Reds.' "When I heard that, I said, 'Oh, snap, how about that? And I got the ball and everything.' It's an honor and a milestone I didn't really know about or care about." Phillips does remember his 1,000th career major-league hit, which came last year. "Oh, yeah, I remember," he said. "That was sweet because it was against Cleveland, a home run off Chad Durban. What a team to do it against." It was an adrenaline rush because it was the Cleveland Indians who gave up on him and traded him to the Reds for two pieces of fool's gold and a broken bat to be identified later. What is also surprising to the 30-year-old All-StarGold Glove second baseman is that he is the second longest tenured player on the team, just two weeks less than pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who arrived in Cincinnati on March 20, 2006. "I didn't think I'd been here long enough to get 1,000 hits that or I've really been raking," he said. "It is surprising that both Bronson and I are still both here, with all the moves they've made in this great organization. Heck, I've played beside more than 20 shortstops while I've been here. "It is surprising and a blessing that I'm still here," he added, smiling broadly when asked if his 2000th will come with him still playing for the Reds. "That would be nice, be nice to have my next 1,000 here, as long as I keep swinging the bat the way I've been doing." And, of course, it depends on that contract extension, too. It was Phillips who ignited an on-the-filed brawl with the St. Louis Cardinals two years ago with some comments about his dislike for the Cardinals, but in which harsher and more vivid and words were uttered. The Reds and defending World Champion Cardinals are in the throes of playing six games against each other over the next week and Phillips knows the importance. The Cardinals took Game One in Great American Ball Park Monday night, 7-1, and the Reds didn't have a hit off Jake Westbrook until Phillips singled with two outs in the fifth. He then scored from first on an infield hiterror and ran straight off the field and into the trainer's room to have a cramping left hamstring treated. "Every win counts, but when you are playing against the Cardinals, you know they are the team to beat, especially in our division," said Phillips. "I feel like the Cardinals have the best team in the division because they won it all last year. And they are playing good baseball, like they always do. The Cardinals showed everybody in baseball last year that you should never give up because they came from way behind and won it all." And Phillips doesn't believe the loss of first baseman Albert Pujols and manager Tony LaRussa will throw sand in the St. Louis crankcase. "To tell the truth, I think the Cardinals will be hungrier," he said. "They are out to prove some things, that two people can't win a championship. Those two people were important parts of their team but there are other guys on that team putting food on the table and they want to show the world that two people can't take them to the 'ship. "Every time you play the Cardinals, you are going to have a little chip on your shoulder," he said. "You always want to beat those guys because you always want to beat the best. They are the type of team that never gives up, so you have to stay up on your toes. Early or late, every time you play the Cardinals it is like the postseason."
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