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CINCINNATI — Brandon Phillips helped the Cincinnati Reds get through their illness with another strong game against his former team, hitting a two-run homer and driving in three runs in a 5-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.
Phillips’ two-run shot in the seventh inning made it 58 straight games with at least one homer at Great American Ball Park since July 29, the longest active streak in the majors.
Phillips also had an RBI single off Derek Lowe (7-5) and three hits overall against the team that gave up on him and traded him at the start of the 2006 season. Phillips is a .347 career hitter against Cleveland.
Mat Latos (5-2) pitched seven innings in place of Mike Leake, one of several Reds hit hard by a stomach virus. Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his seventh save in nine chances, giving up a solo homer by Jose Lopez with two outs.
The left-hander didn’t give up an earned run in his first 24 appearances, but has done so in his last three outings.
Michael Brantley extended his hitting streak to 20 games, matching the longest in the majors this season. It’s the longest by an Indians player since Casey Blake hit in 26 straight games in 2007.
Otherwise, there wasn’t much offensively for Cleveland, which dropped the opener of the intrastate series 7-1 on Tuesday night even though the Reds were depleted by illness. They were closer to full strength on Wednesday, with several players eating chicken noodle soup for energy.
Rookie shortstop Zack Cozart missed a second straight game because of the illness.
Phillips avoided the virus and played a role in the biggest moments
The Gold Glove second baseman stole a hit from Lonnie Chisenhall in the second inning with the best defensive play of the game, going behind second base to make a barehanded catch and throw to first for the out.
When Lowe hit him on the left arm with a pitch in the fifth inning, plate umpire Paul Nauert warned both benches. There were no other incidents.
Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce had sacrifice flies off Lowe, who gave up three runs in six innings. Bruce leads the NL with seven sacrifice flies.
The Indians loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth inning, but managed only one run. Johnny Damon took a called third strike, Casey Kotchman grounded into a run-scoring forceout and Chisenhall grounded out.
Carlos Santana doubled — only the Indians’ second extra-base hit of the series — and eventually scored on Damon’s groundout in the sixth, cutting it to 3-2. Phillips hit his seventh homer off Nick Hagadone in the seventh.
NOTES: The Indians lead the interleague series 39-38. ... Leake expects to start the final game of the series on Thursday afternoon, when he will be trying to win his third straight decision. The Indians will start Josh Tomlin, who is 4-0 in five career interleague starts with a 2.38 ERA. ... RHP Esmil Rogers joined the Indians, a day after Cleveland got him from Colorado for cash. He pitched a hitless eighth inning. ... The Indians optioned INF Matt LaPorta to Triple-A Columbus to open a roster spot. ... Lowe singled in his first at-bat for his first hit of the season. Indians starters have a hit in each game of the series — Jeanmar Gomez singled for his first career hit on Tuesday. ... Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer threw a ceremonial pitch. ... Hits king Pete Rose was in the stands.