Philadelphia Phillies' Domonic Brown, right, and Erik Kratz celebrate after Brown's solo home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Saturday, May 25, 2013, in Washington. Kratz also hit a solo home run at his next at bat. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
BOSTON — On the heels of being named the National League's player of the week, Domonic Brown homered again. He launched a first-pitch fastball into the Red Sox bullpen. It provided an insurance run for Jonathan Papelbon's emotional save.
"He's player of the last eight days," Charlie Manuel quipped afterward.
Brown's month of May is remarkable. If he homers in the next three days, he will be the first Phillies player with nine or more homers in one month since Ryan Howard hit 11 in August 2009. Brown is batting .278 with an .866 OPS in May.
The quirk to Brown's month is that he has not walked all month. There have been three previous instances of months with a player hitting at least eight home runs without a walk. They are:
Ernie Banks, August 1968: 8 HR, 0 BB
Tony Armas, August 1988: 8 HR, 0 BB
Miguel Olivo, June 2009: 8 HR, 0 BB
Brown credited his rediscovered power stroke to a shorter swing. He expects the walks to come when pitchers change their approach against him.
For now, he is enjoying the "chess match" of an at-bat.
"Every team's been doing something a little different," Brown said. "[Monday] night, they started off throwing me in then went away with a couple pitches, then they started mixing it up. I think every team is gonna be different and I’m just gonna have to keep doing what I’m doing, and that’s making an adjustment off of them.
"They've been starting off with a lot of off-speed pitches. Not [Monday] night, but beforehand they were doing that in DC with [Dan] Haren. After I hit the curveball out first pitch, they're thinking like, 'Well, maybe he's sitting on the off-speed pitches.' Then they try to come back with the fastball. That’s just playing the chess match like I said earlier. Baseball is a cat-and-mouse game. You just have to keep making adjustments every day."
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