Phillips turns smart double play against Brewers

Phillips turns smart double play against Brewers

MILWAUKEE -- So much for the adage that a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, at least when it comes to baseball.

Second baseman Brandon Phillips alertly let a soft liner drop in front of him and turned a potential scoring threat into an inning-ending double play in Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Brewers.

The Brewers were on the verge of adding to a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when Ryan Braun reached on a one-out single through the hole at short and Adam Lind followed with a single to left-center.

Khris Davis came up next and hit a humpback liner toward Phillips, who played the ball on the hop rather than making the catch. As a result, Lind had to hold at first, allowing Phillips to initiate a 4-6-3 double play. Davis also helped by not running hard to first as he apparently thought the ball was going to be caught.

"That was a spectacular play," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He has to be able to trust his hands, which he does so well. It's an impossible read for a baserunner. You have to freeze on that ball. You can't assume anything and that's what creates that double-play situation. It's a tough one for the baserunners, for sure."

The infield fly rule is designed to prevent a fielder from intentionally dropping a catchable popup, but Davis' ball was not hit high enough.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Phillips simply made an outstanding play.

"Probably not quite high enough for an infield fly, and I think the umpires also have to have time to be able to call it and I don't really know if you have time to call that," Roenicke said. "It's a heads-up play by a second baseman, a guy whose brain really works right when he's out on the field. To be able to think that quick and do things, it helps we've seen other plays that he's done -- he's really sharp out there and knows what to do in all situations."

Roenicke said he also understood the reason behind Davis' lack of hustle down the line, but obviously did not condone it.

"Well, he thought the guy was -- a line drive to the guy, he's going to catch it. That's just -- it was a double play probably regardless, but you still -- you need to run until you see the guy catch the ball. The reason you drop it is because you know guys aren't going to run. That's why you let it short-hop, because you know everybody's going to stop."

Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.