For the fourth time in as many start, Cliff Lee dominates the opposing batters, this time by pitching a complete game two-hitter, as he allowed in only an unearned run, as the Phils defeat the D-backs, 8-1. They increase their lead over the Marlins to five-and-a-half games as the fish lose to the Astros.
The Phils took the lead in the third as, with a runner on first, and with one out, Chase Utley hits a two-run home run to center field, his twenty-fifth home run of the season, scoring ahead of him Shane Victorino, who had just walked, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. The D-backs would cut the Phils’ lead in half in the fourth as, with a man on third base, and with one man out, Stephen Drew hits a sacrifice fly, knocking in Ryan Roberts, who had earlier reached base on a Pedro Feliz fielding error as he misplayed the ball, going to second on the error, then reaching third on Augie Ojeda’s ground out, 4-3, making it 2-1 Phils. That would turn out to be as much offense as the D-backs will be able to mustard. In the fifth, the Phils would bust the game wide open as, with two men on, and with one man out, Ryan Howard hit a three-run bomb into left center field, his thirty-first home run of the year, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier double, and had gone to third on Victorino’s single, and Victorino, who had earlier singled, to give the Phils a 5-1 lead. The Phils then made it 6-1 as Jayson Werth followed Howard with a solo home run, his twenty-sixth home run of the season. In the top of the sixth, with one man out, pinch hitter Chad Tracy got on base with a pinch hit single, ending Lee’s no-hit bit at five and a third innings, before being stranded at first as the next two D-back hitters flew out to right (Roberts) and struck out looking (Ojeda). The Phils would increase their lead to 7-1 in the bottom half of the inning as, with a man on second, and with two men out, Victorino hits an RBI double, scoring Lee, who had earlier got on base with a single, and then went to second on a wild pitch. In the seventh,the Phils added another run as, with one man out, Werth hits a solo home run, his second of the night and his twenty-seventh home run of the year, making it an 8-1 Phils’ lead. That would be more than enough for Lee, as he would only allow two more base runners after giving up the single, a hit batter in the top of the seventh (Rusty Ryal) and a single in the eighth (Alex Romero), mowing down the D-backs in the ninth inning with a fly out to right (Josh Whitesell), a fly out to left (Drew) and a strike out swinging (Mark Reynolds), as he recorded a two-hitter, and his fourth straight victory since becoming a Phil and his seventh straight win in his last seven starts.
Cliff Lee picked up the win as he pitched a complete game, his second since joining the Phils, as he gave up an unearned run on two hits and a hit batter, while striking out eleven batters, tying a career high. His record is now 11-9 (4-0) with an ERA of 2.72 (0.82). Dan Haren took the lost as he lasted only five innings, giving up six runs on nine hits and a walk, while striking out six. His record is now 12-8 with a 2.74 ERA. Clay Zavada pitched one and a third innings, giving up a run on two hits, while striking out two. Juan Gutierrez pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on one hit, while he struck out one. Blaine Boyer pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, as he struck out a batter.
The Phils had thirteen hits in the game, with Jayson Werth leading the way with three hits, with two of his hits being solo home runs, raising his average to .267. Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and yes, Cliff Lee, followed with two hits apiece, with one of Shane’s hits being an RBI double, while one of Utley’s hits was a two-run home run. Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Paul Boko had the other four Phils’ hits, with Rollins’ being a double, and Howard’s being a three-run bomb which broke the game wide open. All but one of the Phils’ run came via the long ball, something the Phils do very well, but they will need to rely on less if they hope to win their second straight league title and world series championship.
The Phillies (68-49, 1st National League East) will conclude their short home stand with the Diamondbacks (54-67, 4th National League West) with a night game. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm. The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (7-6, 3.88), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on August 14, where he pitched seven innings, giving up just two runs, only one of which was earned, on seven hits and a walk, while striking out two, in the Phils’ 3-2 win. He will be trying for his first win in about a month, while also going for the series sweep. He will be opposed by Doug Davis (7-10, 3.59), who is coming off a no-decision of his own against the Dodgers on August 15, as he went six innings, giving up two runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out two, in the D-backs’ 4-3 win. He will be trying to prevent the sweep. The Phils will be trying to end the short home stand on a positive note, before going onto the road to face the hurting Mets for four games, and then the lowly Pirates for three, with a good chance to increase their lead in the East over the Marlins by the time they come back home.