Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bats erupt late, giving Lee 13th win

As Hunter Pence returned to the dugout after the top of the seventh inning last night, deadlocked in a 2-2 tie, he pondered his next at bat and how he could help Cliff Lee and his offense re-take the lead. Jimmy Rollins had put the Phils up 1-0 with his 37th career leadoff home run on the first pitch he saw.

After Lee allowed two in the second, Pence and John Mayberry Jr. tied it in the bottom of the second with a leadoff double and an RBI single respectively.

Then, both Lee and Joe Saunders settled in to bring the game to the bottom of the seventh still tied.

So Pence stepped in and delivered a pitcher's worst nightmare: the leadoff walk.

It sparked a rally, which plated three in the frame and four more in the eighth, giving the Phils a 9-2 victory and some redemption against the D-Backs.

Wilson Valdez started the scoring by crushing a double off the wall in dead centerfield, plating Pence and Mayberry who'd singled and read the ball of Valdez's bat perfectly. Ben Francisco added a pinch hit sacrifice fly in the inning.

Mayberry, Brian Schneider, Rollins and Shane Victorino each drove in a run in the eighth.

Cliff Lee improved to 13-7, allowing two runs over seven innings on three hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. Not quite the 12 K performance in Arizona back on April 25, but I'm sure Lee will settle for the win. All sarcasm aside, Lee pitched another tremendous game despite his scoreless innings streak coming to a halt at 18. He allowed a two-run shot in the second to Paul Goldschmidt, but settled down to allow just two singles over his final 5+ innings of work.
The Phillies have two wins in five games against Arizona this year, and Saunders has taken the loss in both of them.

The rubber-match is tonight, weather permitting, with Ian Kennedy on the hill against Vance Worley. Kennedy is tied with Roy Halladay for the NL lead in wins (15) and pitched a complete game, three hit shutout against the Phils in April. Worley is also having an outstanding year, but is coming off the worst outing of his career.

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