Finally, a game where we can use the back of our seat instead of hanging off the edge. Cliff Lee returned to form with a masterful 124-pitch complete game shutout; and the Phillies drove in runs when they needed.
Lee’s complete game included nine strikeouts, six hits and three walks which helped to drop his ERA back below two (2.67). His command was on point as he got ahead of the Nationals batters early and often. The only trouble Lee ran into came in the fourth inning when he walked the bases loaded – his first walk in 39 innings. He promptly struck out Josh Bard to escape unscathed and keep the Phillies pitchers’ scoreless streak intact.
At the plate, Lee’s two strikeouts dropped his average to .259, but that was inconsequential as the rest of the Phillies maintained the offensive production. The hitting began in the bottom of the first inning (after Lee struck out the side) when the Phillies sparkplug, Jimmy Rollins reached base with a double and Chase Utley drove him in with a single. Then in the fourth, Ibanez, Werth and Feliz set the table for Carlos Ruiz with a double, single and walk respectively. Chooch came through with the runners in scoring position by delivering a bases-clearing double. JRoll singled later in the inning to rescue Carlos from the basepath and post the Phillies fifth and final run.
From there Cliff Lee cruised to the ninth and even got a little help from the Nationals as their youth and inexperience were on display after a few baserunning blunders. To their credit, Washington did manage two web gems in the field – both robbing Carlos Ruiz of hits.
The Phillies maintain a seven-game lead over the Marlins with 19 to play.