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Brandon Phillips hits winning homer in Red Sox debut

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AP
Updated 9:26 p.m. UTC Sep 5, 2018

ATLANTA (AP) — Brandon Phillips hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning, highlighting his long-awaited season debut and capping the Boston Red Sox’s biggest comeback of the season in a 9-8 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.

The Red Sox overcame a late six-run deficit to sweep the three-game series between division leaders.

Majors-leading Boston scored six times in the eighth to make it 7-all. After Freddie Freeman hit a solo homer with two outs in the Braves eighth, the Red Sox bounced back for their 97th win.

The 37-year-old Phillips sat out the first half of this year, signed a minor league contract with Boston in late June and was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. He didn’t play that night, but started at second base in the final game of the interleague set.

After becoming the first player in Red Sox history to wear No. 0, in one swing the guy with the zero became a gameday hero. Andrew Benintendi singled with one out off A.J. Minter (4-3) and Steve Pearce struck out, bringing up Phillips. On the first pitch, Phillips homered deep into the left field seats.

Braves left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who hit another leadoff homer in the first, didn’t move as Phillips’ shot sailed over his head. Phillips scored three runs and drew two walks.

Braves stadium organist Matthew Kaminski played “Welcome Back” before Phillips’ first at-bat in the second inning. Phillips, a high school star in the Atlanta area who played most of last season with the Braves, tipped his helmet and then walked.

Freeman hit his tiebreaking homer off Brandon Workman (4-0).

Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 38th save.

INDIANS 3, ROYALS 1

CLEVELAND (AP) — Corey Kluber became the first 18-game winner in the majors this season, striking out 10 in Cleveland’s victory over Kansas City.

The Indians moved closer to the third straight AL Central title, reducing their magic number for clinching the division to nine.

Kluber (18-7) allowed one run and two hits in 6 2/3 innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner was pulled after 105 pitches. Cleveland used three relievers to complete the two-hitter. Brad Hand struck out the side in the ninth for his eighth save since being acquired San Diego and 32nd this season.

Jason Kipnis had the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth and two hits.

Brad Keller (7-6) lost for the first time since Aug. 7.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Updated 9:26 p.m. UTC Sep 5, 2018
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