CINCINNATI -- Brandon Phillips wasn't sure what was ailing him enough to make him miss two games this week, but it's pretty obvious whatever it was is out of his system.
Phillips went 2-for-2 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBIs, including hitting his first home run of the season, in Friday night's 6-5 loss to Pittsburgh at Great American Ball Park. Phillips drilled the first pitch he saw from Pirates starter Francisco Liriano in the first inning onto the grassy berm past the center field wall for a solo home run that gave the Reds a 2-0 lead.
"It was a strike, and I hit the heck out of it. That's the only thing I know," said Phillips.
He added a sacrifice fly in the third inning to score Zack Cozart and push the Reds' lead to 3-1, then scored what appeared to be an important insurance run in the seventh inning on a wild pitch by Pittsburgh reliever Ryan Vogelsong. Phillips had stolen third base on the play but when the ball got past catcher Francisco Cervelli and all the way back to the backstop, Phillips scored easily for a 5-2 lead.
The home run was the 187th in Phillips' career, while the stolen base was No. 185 for him.
"He was terrific. It was great to have him back," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "He's an impact player for our ball club. That's a good thing to have, and he obviously looks like he didn't skip a beat."
Phillips went hitless on Opening Day against Philadelphia, and then missed the final two games of the series with a stomach virus.
"To tell you the truth, whatever was in me, I don't know if it was food poisoning, if it was the weather changing or if it was some [one] putting some New Orleans on me, I don't know," said Phillips, "but whatever it was ... it got all out of me and I felt good today."
The loss was the first of the season for the Reds after sweeping the Phillies.
"This loss is probably going to hang with some people, but when you wake up in the morning, it's a new day," said Phillips. "That's what this game is all about. All I can really say is you have to learn from mistakes. That's all you can do."
Kevin Goheen is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.