Brandon Phillips returns to lineup after four-game absence

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As first reported by Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is back in the Cincinnati starting lineup on Sunday afternoon for the first time since suffering a bruised left elbow when he was hit by a pitch last Tuesday.

Phillips, 30, has registered a .287/.333/.424 triple slash line with 11 home runs and 63 RBI in 489 plate appearances this year for the third-place Reds. He is batting third and playing second in Sunday’s series finale against Padres left-hander Wade LeBlanc.

The Reds have won four straight but remain 10 games back of the Brewers in the National League Central.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.