KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- What's even better than hitting a home run to give your team a lead in the top of the 10th inning?
For Phillies left fielder Domonic Brown at Osceola County Stadium on Tuesday, it was doing that after making a defensive lapse that had allowed the Astros to tie the score in the first place.
"I've got to catch that ball. So I was a little enthused to get up there and make a big play," Brown said after the Astros rallied for a 6-5 win.
In the bottom of the eighth, Carlos Lee led off with a drive right at Brown. He took a step in, froze and then watched helplessly as the ball sailed over his head for a double. Pinch-runner Brandon Barnes eventually scored the tying run.
So when Brown came up with one out and nobody on in the 10th, he took a good rip at a first-pitch fastball from Enerio Del Rosario and drove it over the right-field fence.
That illustrates both the promise for Brown, who was making his first start in left since injuring his thumb diving for a fly ball a week earlier, and the part of his game that he needs to work on.
"He hit a couple balls real hard," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Real good. When he hits the ball on the nose, he moves it. His hand [injury] has kind of slowed him down as far as getting at-bats. He's going to be a good hitter. He's got a chance to be a good hitter."
What about his defense?
"He's got to get better," Manuel said. "I don't like to talk a lot about his defense. I like to put him out there and see if he can improve. I'm sure he thinks enough about it. He wants to do good and it's just a matter of getting comfortable. He'll get better."
Brown, who was switched from right field to left after Hunter Pence was acquired last season, remains confident he'll get the hang of it.
"I want the ball in my hands," he said." A lot of guys say that, but I really do. Those mess-ups in the field, I know they're going to happen. But I think I'm strong enough mentally. I want to be the man in that situation."