Cliff Lee comes to the Bank and thrill his new fans with a seven inning quality start, as the Phils defeat the Rockies, 3-1. They now hold a seven games lead in the NL East over a Marlins team that had just been swept by the lowly Nats for three games this weekend.
The Rockies took a quick lead in the first as, with runners on the corners, and nobody out, Todd Helton hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Dexter Fowler, who lead-off the game with a double and then went to third on Seth Smith’s single, giving the Rockies a 1-0 lead. The Phils tied it up at one-all in their half of the first as, with a runner on third, and with one man out, Chase Utley hits a sacrifice fly of his own, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier doubled, and had gone to third on Shane Victorino’s ground out, 4-3. The game then turned into a pitchers’ duel between Phils’ starter Cliff Lee, who would give up another three hits for a total of five in the first five innings, but would otherwise keep the Rockies off the scoreboard, while the Rockies’ starter Aaron Cook would give up four more hits for a total of five after four innings. The Phils would then take the lead in the fifth as Paul Bako hits a lead-off home run, his first home run of the year, giving the Phils a 2-1 lead. The Phils would then increase their lead three batters later as, with a runner on third, and with one man out, Victorino hits a chopper to Rockies’ second baseman Clint Barmes, with Rollins, who had just tripled, running for home on the crack of the bat. Rollins would be safe at home plate, making it a 3-1 Phils’ lead, as Barmes made a wide throw that went past the catcher for a fielder’s choice, allowing Victorino to be safe at first base. That would be all the run support that Lee would need, as he kept the Rockies quiet for the next two innings, as he gave up only one more hit, before handing it over to the bullpen, which threw two scoreless innings, as Brad Lidge nailed down his twenty-first save of the year in the ninth.
Cliff Lee got the win, his second as a Phil since the trade, as he went seven innings, giving up only a run on six hits and a walk, while he struck out nine. His record is now 9-9 (2-0) with a ERA of 2.95 (1.13). Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless inning as he recorded his seventeenth hold, giving up just a hit, while striking out one. Brad Lidge recorded his twenty-first save of the year as he pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up one hit, as he struck out two. Aaron Cook took the lost as he pitched five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits. His record is now 10-4 with a 3.93 ERA. Matt Daley pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two batters. Franklin Morales pitched two scoreless innings, giving up a walk, while striking out a batter.
The Phillies had only seven hits in the game, with Jimmy Rollins leading the way with three hits, just being a home run short of hitting for the cycle, as he scored two of the three Phils’ runs, while he raised his batting average up to .245, as he continued to be hot since the start of July. Paul Bako is next with two hits, including his game-winning solo home run, knocking in a run. Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez had the other two Phillies’ hits, both singles. Utley knocked in one of the other two Phils’ RBIs with a sac fly, while Shane Victorino knocked in the other one with a fielder’s choice ground ball. Although having few hits, the Phils were able to score the runs they needed, especially as Ryan Howard seems to be in a bit of a slump. Once Howard gets back to hitting the ball and laying off the junk, cutting down on the strikeouts, he’ll be able to carry the team once more on his back.
The Phillies (61-45, 1st) continue their home stand with a three-games series with the Marlins (55-53, 2nd 7 games behind), who had just been swept by the Nationals. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park, and will start at 7:35 pm, after the late Harry Kalas is inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame. The Phils’ starter will be Joe Blanton (7-5, 4.02), who had pitched well in a losing effort against the Giants on August 1, as he went seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits, as he struck out five, in the Phils’ 2-0 lost. He will be going for his eighth win of the year while trying to start the series off on a positive note. The Marlins will counter with Ricky Nolasco (7-7, 5.00), who is coming off a no-decision against the Cubs on August 2, as he went seven innings, giving up only a run on four hits and a walk, as he struck out eight, in the Marlins’ 3-2 win. He will be trying to end the fish present three games losing streak. The Phils will be trying to put even more distance between themselves and the rest of the NL East this weekend.