Cliff Lee Tosses 3-Hitter Against Nationals

Posted by Danielle Wilson

Two words: pitcher's duel.

That is exactly what this game was tonight for the first five innings which went by extraordinarily fast. Nationals starter Jordan Zimmerman pitched five perfect innings, and in five innings for Cliff Lee, he allowed just two hits; a double to Danny Espinosa in the third, and a single to Jordan Zimmerman, who would have collected the RBI if Espinosa wasn't tagged out at home by Carlos Ruiz.

Finally, in the sixth inning, Jordan Zimmerman's game was murdered. The killer? Carlos Ruiz who launched his second homerun of the year onto the top of the wall in left field. Shane Victorino followed with a double, and Placido Polanco reached on a fielding error  (I know, there are just so many) and made it safely to second, scoring Shane. 2-0 Phillies.

Cliff Lee was absolutely stunning from the fifth inning on. He allowed one hit in the fifth, but retired the next eight batters in order, six by strikeout. Five were consecutive, and all were swinging.

The bats really came alive in the eighth for the Phillies. It started with Carlos Ruiz and Wilson Valdez hitting back to back singles. Cliff Lee reached on a fielding error (LOL, come on, Nats) and the bases were loaded for Victorino…who struck out swinging. However, Polly grounded into a force out which scored Ruiz, and Jimmy Rollins batted in his first runner of the year with a single. 4-0 Phillies.

Clifton Phifer Lee walked the lead-off batter to start the eighth, but proceeded to dominate by striking out the next two batters, and getting Jerry Hairston Jr. to pop up. Cliff's pitch count? 88.

Two hits allowed, one walk issued, twelve strikeouts, 88 pitches. Bring on the ninth inning.

Cliff allowed a lead-off single, and by that point, I had stopped breathing. Luckily, Cliff got Ian Desmond to line out, Rick Ankiel to fly out, and Jayson Werth to ground out.

Cliff Lee tossed a 3-hitter, his ninth career complete game, and with Halladay's complete game yesterday, it was the first time that two consecutive starters did it for the Phillies since Paul Byrd and Curt Schilling did it in St. Louis in 1999.

The Phillies are now 9-3 for the season, and will hopefully continue with the incredible pitching and dependable offense for this upcoming series at home versus the Florida Marlins. Roy Oswalt will take the mound tomorrow against Javier Vazquez.