Brandon Phillips' trash talk comes back to bite

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Brandon Phillips is flashy and likes to live large.

He drives a custom Audi with purple paint and Gold Gloves on the wheels, and he blames his sweet ride for his recent reckless driving charge. (“I really didn’t know how fast I was going. That’s how powerful the car is.”)

The Cincinnati Reds’ All-Star second baseman also likes to talk, and he leveled some choice words at the St. Louis Cardinals before Monday’s game between the top two teams in the NL Central.

“I’d play against these guys on one leg,” Phillips insisted before the game. “We have to beat these guys. All they do is bitch and moan about everything — all of them. They’re little bitches — all of them.

“I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals.”

We got the message, loud and clear, and there’s nothing wrong with injecting a little spice into a division race that has until recently flown below the radar.

The problem for Phillips is that a response came quickly and with much authority as the Cardinals responded with a 7-3 romp on Monday night to pull within a game of the division lead.

Even worse, Tony La Russa used Phillips’ quote in a clever ploy to drive a wedge between Phillips and his Reds teammates. La Russa told Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“I don’t think that will go over well in his clubhouse,” La Russa said. “Phillips is ripping his teammates. (Scott) Rolen, Edmonds, (Miguel) Cairo, (Russ) Springer, all of the ex-Cardinals over there. He isn’t talking about this year. He’s talking about the way we’ve always played. And those guys are old Cardinals. Tell him he’s ripping his own teammates, because they were all Cardinals.”

Oooh snap!

For the record, Phillips was 0-for-5 with a strikeout on Monday.  Lucky for him, he has two more games to back up his talk.

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John Jaso hits for the cycle

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 27:  John Jaso #28 of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during the game against the Seattle Mariners during inter-league play on July 27, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Pirates first baseman John Jaso hit for the cycle on Wednesday night against the Cubs, becoming the first Pirate to do so since Daryl Ward against the Cardinals on May 26, 2004. It’s the third cycle of the 2016 season, as Jaso joins Freddie Freeman and Rajai Davis.

Jaso singled in the second inning for his first hit. He smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie. He hit an RBI double in the fifth to push the Cubs’ lead to 5-1. Then, in the seventh, Jaso hit an RBI triple to make it an 8-4 game.

Coming into Wednesday night, Jaso was hitting an adequate .259/.342/.384 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 416 plate appearances. He’s been limited mostly to right-handed pitching as the Pirates have used David Freese and Josh Bell at the position as well.

Freddie Freeman extends hitting streak to 30 games

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves waits to bat in the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 17, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
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Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 30 games with a single to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s win against the Phillies. Prior to that at-bat, he had grounded out, been hit by a pitch, and walked.

Freeman entered Wednesday night batting .382/.477/.673 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 24 runs scored over his past 29 games. Though his numbers are lacking compared to National League MVP Award favorite Kris Bryant, Freeman will get some top-five votes. On the season, he entered Wednesday hitting .307/.404/.576 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, and 99 runs scored in 673 plate appearances.

Freeman’s 30-game hitting streak is the longest such streak in the majors this season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. He has also reached base safely in 46 consecutive games.