He says it was all in the preparation.
"Spring was different for me from the year before," he said. "I had a different role. I came into spring knowing I was going to hit leadoff or I was going to be second. I knew I had to have a different approach. I had to become a different player for the team instead of for myself.
"In the past, when I was hitting fourth, it was all about RBI and trying to be the big dude for the team. I came to spring training this year to try to be the trendsetter and get things started for Joey Votto, Jonny Gomes and Scott Rolen."
Reds manager Dusty Baker decided against putting Phillips in the leadoff role Monday night -- even with Drew Stubbs out of the lineup.
"Instead of having two or three guys move around, you just have one," Baker said. "Brandon is doing pretty good hitting in front of Joey. Plus, (Chris) Heisey's led off a lot before in the minor leagues."
Heisey hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, providing the winning margin in Cincinnati's 3-2 victory at San Diego.
Phillips' best year came in 2007, when he hit .288 with 30 home runs, 94 RBI and 33 steals. He hit mostly second that year.
"I like hitting there," he said. "It's fun, especially when you're winning."
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