CLEVELAND - Brandon Phillips found the perfect way to celebrate his 28th birthday: by beating the Cleveland Indians who were minus Mark DeRosa.
Phillips broke out of a 1-for-16 slump with 3 hits, 3 runs, and 3 RBIs to lead the Cincinnati Reds to an 8-1 win over his former team Sunday.
"It's good to have a game like I did today, especially on my birthday and against the guys you used to play for," Phillips said. "Today, I was like, 'I'm going to show the Indians what they missed out on." '
The versatile DeRosa was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday night for right-hander Chris Perez, who's expected to join the Indians bullpen today, and a player to be named later.
The move came after Cleveland, expecting to be competitive this season, acquired DeRosa from the Chicago Cubs on New Year's Eve for three minor-league pitchers.
Ramon Hernandez also had three hits and three RBIs as the Reds took two of three from their Ohio rivals to move back to .500 overall.
Micah Owings (5-8) gave up one run and five hits over six innings for only his second win in eight starts since May 21.
Phillips hit a two-run single in a four-run third off David Huff (3-3). He had an RBI single and scored on Jonny Gomes' homer in the fifth, then singled, stole second, and scored on a base hit by Hernandez against Rafael Perez in the seventh.
Phillips has consistently come back to hurt the Indians in interleague play, hitting .341 (30-for-88) with four homers, 18 RBIs and five stolen bases in 23 games against them.
The Indians fell further into last place in the AL Central with their 10th loss in 12 games, yet manager Eric Wedge remains hopeful that adding two relievers and getting injured players back can provide a needed boost.
"As we get players back, we should have a more consistent lineup," Wedge said.
Phillips gave the Reds a 2-1 lead with a two-run single in the third, then scored on Hernandez's two-run triple off the wall in left-center.
Cleveland left fielder Ryan Garko dropped a fly ball by Joey Votto in the fifth, leading to a three-run inning. Phillips followed with line single to center to make it 4-1 and scored on Gomes' fourth homer, an opposite-field shot to right.
Asdrubal Cabrera, activated from the disabled list yesterday after missing 22 games with a strained shoulder, singled, and scored in the first to put Cleveland ahead, 1-0.