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Rays OF Brett Phillips pitches, makes 19 mph sliding catch vs. Athletics

Rays OF Brett Phillips pitches, makes 19 mph sliding catch vs. Athletics
Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Brett Phillips (L) drew his second career pitching appearance Monday in St. Petersburg, Fla. File Photo by Steven J. Nesius/UPI | License Photo

April 12 (UPI) -- Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Brett Phillips was recently called in to pitch during a blowout loss, but provided plenty of entertainment when he ran 19 mph and made an acrobatic catch while nearly sliding into a dugout.

Phillips walked to the mound in the eighth inning of the 13-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Monday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. He recorded his spectacular snag in the ninth.

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"I'm going to be honest, if I don't win Catch of the Year for pitcher, I'll be highly disappointed," Phillips told reporters.

"That's what I do best is catch baseballs. We all know that."

The right-handed -- temporary -- pitcher allowed a single, but no runs, through his first three exchanges of the appearance. Phillips settled back in for the top of the ninth.

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He walked first baseman Billy McKinney in his first exchange of the final frame. Athletics catcher Sean Murphy followed with a fly out to center field. Athletics right fielder Seth Brown then stepped into the box for the most entertaining sequence of Phillips' mound appearance.

Phillips earned a 1-2 lead in the count. He issued a 48.5 mph fastball for the final offering of the exchange. Brown sliced the pitch and sent the ball toward the seats between home plate and third base.

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Phillips jumped off the mound and pursued the pop-up. He covered 90 feet and traveled about 19.3 mph en route to the ball, according to Statcast.

Phillips slid onto his backside just before he reached the dirt in front of the Athletics dugout. He continued his slide through the soil and snagged the ball while his glove was between his legs and his feet hit the fence in front of the dugout.

"I don't know how many pitchers we've got that can do that," Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters. "We are going to see that play on the highlight reel for the rest of the year."

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Phillips unraveled after he made the catch. Left fielder Chad Pinder doubled off his next pitch. Phillips then walked designated hitter Stephen Vogt. Athletics third baseman Sheldon Neuse followed with a 398-foot grand slam to left field.

Neuse went 4 for 5 with four RBIs and two runs scored for the Athletics. Andrus went 3 for 5 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored in the win. Brown and Pinder also homered for the Athletics.

Rays shortstop Wander Franco went 3 for 4 with two runs scored in the loss. Phillips went 0 for 4 at the plate and allowed three hits, four runs and issued two walks in his two innings of work. He now owns an 18.00 ERA this season.

Phillips allowed two hits, one run and issued two walks in one inning in one appearance last season.

Right-handed pitcher Paul Blackburn earned the win for the Athletics. He allowed just three hits and tossed seven strikeouts over five scoreless innings.

The Rays (3-1) host the Athletics (2-2) in the second game of the series at 6:40 p.m. EDT Tuesday at Tropicana Field.

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