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Phillips closing in on Morgan's Reds records

MIAMI -- Joe Morgan is widely regarded as one of the game's greatest second basemen, but Brandon Phillips is gaining on the Hall of Famer in the Reds' record books.

Phillips entered Thursday night's series finale with the Marlins one double shy of Morgan's record of 220 for Cincinnati second basemen. The 32-year-old never could have imagined being statistically in the same class as the legendary Morgan.

"I never thought about something like that. It's an honor or I've been over here too long. It's one of the two," Phillips joked.

A two-time All-Star, Phillips has a long way to go to catch the Hall of Famer Morgan in trips to the Midsummer Classic. But Phillips has already surpassed Morgan in hits, 1,205 to 1,155.

After belting a homer and driving in two runs in Thursday's 5-3 win over the Marlins, Phillips trails Morgan by three homers and 13 RBIs. Barring something unforeseen, the current Reds second baseman will own most of Morgan's Reds records by the end of this season.

"I always try to be the best player I can be," Phillips said. "I try to be better than Joe Morgan. He's always told me, 'Try to be better than me.' That's hard to do, because he's the best second baseman to ever play this game. I respect him dearly, but I'm going to go out there and play the game and try to break his records."

Phillips has been a force for the Reds this season. The veteran leads the National League with 36 RBIs. Phillips enjoys hitting cleanup for the Reds, and he hopes to continue his run production in the middle of their order.

"When a guy gets in scoring position, I try to focus a little bit more," Phillips said. "I wish I could focus more when no one is on base, but I really try to get those guys in once they get into scoring position. My goal is to get 100 RBIs, and that came up once they put me in the four spot. My job is to drive people in. I don't worry about my on-base percentage or my batting average. I just want to drive guys in, and I've been successful so far. Hopefully I can keep it up."

David Villavicencio is a contributor to
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