Baseball / Sports

Brignac plays Phils hero a second straight day

PHILADELPHIA -- Reid Brignac, 28, has spent more time in the minor leagues than the majors over the last four seasons. He is a spare part. He is a former second-round pick who never fulfilled his potential. And, now after a 7-3 victory Thursday, he is a Phillies hero.

That status is not difficult to achieve on a last-place team, not when three weeks passed between Phillies three-game winning streaks. Brignac helped author wins in the last two days against San Diego, another cursed team.

The Phillies swept the Padres, a feeble team with the worst on-base percentage in baseball since 1914. Kyle Kendrick allowed two more first-inning runs; John Mayberry was twice thrown out at home plate. But the home team prevailed on a dreary afternoon when rainwater pooled on the Citizens Bank Park infield.

Brignac smashed a two-run double to break a 2-2 tie in the sixth. "Sleep fast," he said late Wednesday night after his game-winning, three-run homer in the ninth inning beat San Diego. Brignac did not start Thursday; his key swing came as a pinch-hitter for Kendrick in the sixth.

The Phillies have platooned Brignac and Cesar Hernandez at third base in Cody Asche's absence. Asche will start a rehab assignment Friday at single-A Lakewood. Until this week, the third-base replacements had produced little.

A three-game winning streak is not insignificant, although the quality of the opponent must be considered. The Padres, as a team, have a .216 batting average, .275 on-base percentage and .344 slugging percentage. They rank last in baseball for all of those categories. They pinch-hit for their No. 3 hitter in the eighth inning, which is never a good sign.

For the Phillies, this marked the first series sweep since April 11-13 against Miami. They were 6-6 then, and everything seemed possible. They need a month of good baseball to recover that spirit.

John Mayberry Jr. started at first base Thursday and raked three-extra base hits, including a three-run homer in the seventh that guaranteed the outcome.

That allowed Ryne Sandberg to unleash reliever Ken Giles for his major-league debut. Giles hit 99 m.p.h. on the radar gun. But he allowed a home run to Yasmani Grandal, the first batter he faced. He struck out Alexi Amarista to end the game.

Jimmy Rollins lashed an RBI single in the first inning. He is two hits from breaking Mike Schmidt's franchise record.

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