What a weird one. Hunter Pence hits a game-winning solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, his second home run of the game in the Phillies 4-3 win. It’s the Phillies first three-game winning streak of the season.
ANOTHER ONE BLOWN
-Man, this is getting old. Chad Qualls gave up two runs in the ninth inning, his fourth blown save of this season already. Absolutely brutal.
-Hunter Pence added to the madness by mishandling a single to right field that allowed the tying run to score in the ninth.
-Jake Diekman made his major league debut to clean up the mess Qualls left and held the tie with a strikeout in the ninth. He then retired the Astros in order in the 10th with two more strikeouts giving him the victory. Give the kid the eighth inning.
LEE IN TOP FORM
-Cliff Lee finally almost won his first game this season. He hadn’t hasn’t won a regular season game since September 26, 2011 against Atlanta. His line on Tuesday: eight innings, five hits, one run (earned), one walk, 10 strikeouts. He’s back.
-Lee dazzled with his array of pitches. He struck Astros hitters out with three changeups, three two-seam fastballs, three curveballs, and a cutter.
-He made a mistake to Matt Downs in the seventh inning, which landed 10 rows up in the left field seats for a long solo home run. There weren’t many other mistakes made.
-With 10 strikeouts, it was Lee’s 19th career double-digit strikeout game, and the first this year.
SCHNEIDER PROVIDES OFFENSE?
-You read that right, Brian Schneider gave the Phillies the lead in the second inning with a 3-iron shot to right field off Houston starter Jordan Lyles. It was his first home run since April 21, 2011 against San Diego and a total of 145 at-bats. Looong time coming. It’s nice to get a shot of offense from your backup.
-Hunter Pence hit his eighth home run of the season in the sixth inning, the first of his two bombs. The at-bat began poorly, but Pence held out and nailed a 2-2 pitch the opposite way. Pence plays at such a high level, I think it would be beneficial for him to slow the game down a bit and settle in the box a bit before hacking.
-Pence made a baserunning blunder in the eighth inning. With runners at first and third with no outs, John Mayberry scorched a ball to third, just in front of where Pence was standing. Pence inexplicably started for home, only to get caught in a rundown.
-Pence gets a pass though, since he did bail out the bullpen with a homer in the 10th.
-Jimmy Rollins went 2-for-4, so let’s hope this is the start of a turnaround for him. He got a gift-double in the first inning when first baseman Carlos Lee collided with the umpire. The ball trickled down the line, and Rollins scampered to second.
-Charlie Manuel was ejected by home plate umpire Bob Davidson for arguing a strike three call that got away from Brian Schneider. It appeared from the replay that Davidson called a foul tip. I was unable to see more than one replay – correct me if I’m wrong.
-Juan Samuel didn’t have a good series as the third base coach. On Monday, he had Mayberry gunned out at the plate on a hard-hit ball to left field. On Tuesday afternoon, Brian Schneider smoked a ball to right fielder Matt Downs, who threw out Mayberry by a solid 8-10 feet. I get that Samuel is trying to be aggressive with the pitcher due up next, but both pitches were hit too hard to warrant the “go” sign. Plus, Cliff Lee can handle the stick a bit. So having him bat with the bases loaded was probably not the worst scenario ever.
-Astros starter Jordan Lyles fared pretty well arriving from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He allowed three runs in six innings while striking out four.
-Down in Lehigh Valley, Domonic Brown missed his 8th consecutive game with a bad hamstring.
-Paid attendance: 43,781. It was about 70 percent full by my estimation, but, it’s how many tickets they sell, not how many people sit in those seats.