IT IS way too early to say that Domonic Brown saved baseball in Philadelphia, or even that he saved this lackluster 2013 season, but there is electricity in Citizens Bank Park again, and the guy with the defibrillator paddles is wearing No. 9.

Last night, he hit home run No. 17, a lined shot that landed in the rightfield seats after an eight-pitch battle against a young pitcher named Tom Koehler. The stadium erupted, two runs scored and baseball felt fun once again.

A couple of hours earlier, as Brown walked from the on-deck circle to home plate for his first at-bat of the game, Koehler and his catcher had called timeout to gather their thoughts together in front of the mound. There were runners on first and second and two outs in the first inning. Brown entered the night having just been named the National League Player of the Month for May, the eight home runs he had hit in his previous nine games powering him to the honor. The game plan was predictable: a curveball, followed by a fastball, followed by two more curveballs.

Brown went down swinging, which might have provided a bit of fodder for the fans and pundits who have spent the recent days searching for reasons to maintain their disbelief. But then came the fourth inning, and two changeups for balls, followed by a 2-0 fastball that Brown lined to right for a single. It was the type of sequence that is supposed to bring the kid back to a more human level, a couple of offspeed pitches followed by a tailing 94-mph heater. And that was lesson one about Domonic Brown: You can throw him a pitch on the outer third of the plate, but he can hit it, and he can pull it.

Lesson No. 2 came in the sixth. Koehler again started him off with a couple of changeups, and Brown fouled off both. Next came a fastball, which Brown took for a ball, followed by a curveball (foul), a fastball (foul), another curveball (foul), and another fastball (foul). On the eighth pitch of an at-bat that had started 0-2, Koehler went back to the changeup, but hung it badly, and Brown did as Brown does, extending his National League-leading home run total to 17, nine of which have come in the past 10 days.

Where the season goes from here is anybody's guess. Baseball has humbled far more established players than Domonic Brown. His ascension to the national spotlight has been so rapid that it is hard for even his most ardent backers to grasp. Six weeks ago, he was hitting .206, and you had to wonder whether the arrival of Delmon Young from the disabled list might prompt more of a rotation among Brown, John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix. Now, he is somebody who makes people plan their trips to the bathroom. When Brown is at the plate and you are not in front of the television, you probably will miss something.

"There's more of a roar and an aura in the stadium and everything becomes a great feel," manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's energy."

In last night's 7-2 win over the Marlins, that something was a 3-for-4 performance that raised Brown's average to .291, a couple of RBI that increased his total to 42, and a home run that tied him with some guy named Miguel Cabrera. He is a candidate for the All-Star Game and the home run derby, and if he somehow manages to keep up his current pace, the Most Valuable Player chatter will begin in the not-too-distant future. He has a .592 slugging percentage and a .921 OPS, and room to grow.

Most important to the Phillies, Brown is a reason to watch. They have a payroll to support and a television contract to renegotiate, and, for the first 6 weeks of the season, they were running a severe likeability deficit. When you watch players such as Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, you cannot help but think about what they used to be, and then yearn for those salad days. Then comes a player like Brown, and you remember how fun it was to watch Howard blossom into a star in 2005 and 2006, the anticipation you felt before every at-bat.

Howard never hit nine home runs in 10 games - the last player to do that before Brown was Bobby Abreu in 2005. At some point, he will cool off. The final 4 months of the regular season will tell us more about Brown's career than the one he just completed. Right now, though, he sure is fun to watch.

Today on David Murphy talks to Carlos Zambrano about his newfound faith. Also, a report that Cliff Lee is hearing the trade speculation.