4/10/2013 1:21 A.M. ET
Phillips credits Classic to scorching start
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Brandon Phillips entered Tuesday's action with hits in each of the previous six games. The stretch coincided with the Reds second baseman's switch to the cleanup spot in the lineup.
Phillips batted second on Opening Day and went 0-for-5. He was moved to fourth after Ryan Ludwick tore the labrum in his right shoulder. In the six games that followed, he was 11-for-27 (.407) with two home runs, four doubles, seven RBIs and eight runs scored.
"I was looking forward to doing my job in the two-hole. That didn't last too long," Phillips said. "My job right now is to focus and try to get 100 RBIs. When I found out I was hitting fourth, I set a goal for myself. I don't care about my batting average. I don't care about anything else. My job is to get to 100 RBIs. I've never done it. I came close once when I hit fourth, even though I didn't hit there the whole year."
In 2007, while often batting fourth between Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn, Phillips had 30 homers and 94 RBIs -- both career highs.
What's helped Phillips get so hot early? He credits his six-game experience in the World Baseball Classic last month while playing for Team USA.
"I learned a lot in the WBC and some of the approaches the other guys had," Phillips said. "I think it got me ready in a certain kind of way. I found out really the type of player I could be."
Phillips went 0-for-3 in Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Cardinals and drove in the club's lone run with a sacrifice fly.
Shoulder fatigue continues to bother Marshall
ST. LOUIS -- During the Reds' 13-4 win over the Cardinals on Monday, manager Dusty Baker was able to avoid using setup man Jonathan Broxton and closer Aroldis Chapman. But his bullpen still isn't at full strength as left-hander Sean Marshall continues to be bothered by shoulder fatigue.
"We're still a little worried about Marshall. He's not right yet," Baker said on Tuesday.
Marshall didn't make his season debut until Sunday against the Nationals, but he threw a 1-2-3 seventh inning with one strikeout. A scout noticed that his velocity seemed to be down, however. Before Sunday, Marshall hadn't pitched in a big league game since March 22 during Spring Training.
Because Marshall pitched Sunday, the Reds wouldn't be able to back date a disabled-list stint very long.
"We waited as long as we could with an 11-man pitching staff," Baker said.
Robinson makes first big league start
ST. LOUIS -- Rookie Derrick Robinson was in the Reds' lineup playing left field against the Cardinals on Tuesday, which meant he was getting his first start in the Majors. Reds manager Dusty Baker wanted to give left fielder Chris Heisey a break against right-handed starter Lance Lynn.
"I've got Heisey slated to play every game in Pittsburgh. That would mean Robinson would go two weeks without a start," Baker said. "Plus, Lynn can be tough with that breaking ball-fastball [combo]. Plus, Heisey will get the majority of starts in left field. The other guys will need at-bats so they will be sharp we when need them."
Robinson, who notched his first hit as a pinch-hitter on Sunday and scored the go-ahead run against the Nationals, wasn't given advanced warning he would start.
"I didn't know for sure, but I knew it was a possibility. I come in every day ready, just in case," Robinson said. "You just have to make sure you're ready mentally. That's the main focus coming off of the bench."
Robinson's parents were in Cincinnati for his debut but have since returned home to Archer, Fla.
"I let them know I was getting my first start today," Robinson said. "They're excited to watch it on the tube."
Robinson finished 1-for-3 in the Reds' 5-1 loss.
Heisey explains hard slide into Cardinals' Molina
ST. LOUIS -- Lost in the shuffle during Monday's 13-4 Reds win over the Cardinals was a strange play at the plate.
In the fourth inning with the Reds trailing, 2-0, and runners on first and third, Brandon Phillips hit a grounder to third base. Chris Heisey tried to score as the throw from David Freese came to the plate. During his wide slide on the inside of the dish, Heisey missed the plate completely and barreled into catcher Yadier Molina.
There was a chance Heisey would have been safe had he slid straight for the plate. Heisey, who was instead tagged for the first out of the inning, explained what happened on Tuesday.
"As soon as he tagged me, 'I was like what the heck was he doing?' Then I had to check myself," Heisey said. "To be honest with you, I guess for a split-second, I was thinking I needed to take him out so he couldn't throw Brandon out. It was a brain [cramp], that's all. I went up to Yadi the next at-bat and said, 'I just had a brain [cramp], I wasn't going after you or anything. I forgot you had to tag me and not just step on the plate.'"
According to Heisey, there were no hard feelings from Molina.
"He was actually really nice to me and was like, 'Hey dude, don't worry about it. It happens,'" Heisey said.