Friday, September 16, 2011

Phils sweep doubleheader, magic number at 2

The Phillies took care of business against the Marlins, despite a still struggling offense, sweeping the twin bill at Citizen's Bank Park. With the victories, the magic number to clinch a fifth consecutive NL East crown is down to two. They could clinch as early as tonight with a win over St. Louis and an Atlanta loss to the Mets.

Kyle Kendrick pitched well in Game One, out-dueling Anibal Sanchez in a 3-1 victory. KK improved to 8-6, allowing one run, on Logan Morrison's 20th home run of the season, on just two hits and no walks with six strikeouts over five innings. Antonio Bastardo, Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson all struggled in the late innings, but held on to secure the victory. Hunter Pence and Raul Ibanez each had an RBI double, and Placido Polanco drove in a run.

Cliff Lee was brilliant in Game Two. The Phils managed just one run of support, a John Mayberry Jr. home run in the sixth. Lee was making it stick though. He was one strike away from yet another complete game shutout with Jose Lopez at the plate with an 0-2 count in the ninth. Lee made his first mistake of the night, hanging a high cutter that Lopez drove out of the yard.

Ryan Howard hit a walk-off RBI double in the tenth, scoring Michael Martinez from first base. Lee was left with a no decision, allowing the one run on five hits and no walks with 12 strikeouts. He certainly deserved a better fate. Just one more strike would have given him his 17th win of the year, and a remarkable seventh complete game shutout.

Vance Worley (11-2, 2.92) takes the mound tonight, looking to inch the Phils closer to the crown. Jaime Garcia (12-7, 3.68) will oppose him for the Cardinals. Atlanta's game starts 30 minutes after the Phillies, so if they're to wrap up the division tonight, it's unlikely the celebration will come on the field.

Worley is 2-1 with a 4.34 ERA in his last three starts and has never faced St. Louis. His last few starts have been a rough stretch for Worley, but he's battled and pitched out of a bunch of jams.

Garcia is 2-1 with a 5.82 ERA in his last three starts. He's 2-1 with a 1.17 ERA in his career against the Phils with 17 strikeouts over 23 innings.

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