Lee's injury in the third overshadowed an excellent offensive performance by the Phillies
The Phillies' offense came alive Thursday evening following an 11-2 beatdown at the hands of the New York Mets in their previous game. It should have been a happier day, but the outburst was overshadowed by the loss of pitcher Cliff Lee early in the game.
Lee and Washington starter Gio Gonzalez traded zeroes over the first few innings, with Lee looking sharper than he has at any point since returning from the disabled list. He allowed just one hit over 2.2 innings with four strikeouts before shaking his arm and signaling to the Phillies staff that he was done. It was reported that Lee has a flexor pronator strain in his left arm, the same injury that cost him a two months of his season this year. Antonio Bastardo (5-4) came in to finish the third in his stead.
The Phillies got down to business against Gonzalez (6-7) in the fourth. Marlon Byrd and Carlos Ruiz hit consecutive singles to lead off the inning and scored on a double into the right-centerfield gap by Grady Sizemore. One out later, pinch hitter Domonic Brown plated Sizemore on a fielder's choice to second, with Sizemore beating the throw at home to score. Jimmy Rollins added an RBI single, and Chase Utley's fielder's choice hit scored Brown to stake the Phillies to a 5-0 lead, chasing Gonzales from the game.
Washington got one back in the bottom of the frame with an RBI single from Wilson Ramos, making it 5-1. In the third, the Nationals tacked on another two runs when Denard Span hit a bases-loaded, two-run single. Justin DeFratus came on in relief of Mario Hollands to finish the inning.
The Phillies added to their lead in the sixth when Rollins drove Ben Revere from second on a single to left. Rollins stole second for his 20th steal of the season, stole third immediately after, and scored on Chase Utley's sac-fly to make it 7-3.
Jake Diekman came in for the seventh and allowed a leadoff double to Frandsen who, after advancing to third on a passed ball, scored on Danny Espinosa's single to center. He allowed a single to Span before being relieved by young Ken Giles. Giles worked a 3-2 count to Jayson Werth before striking out the veteran on a high, 100mph fastball to end the inning, showing some enthusiasm as he left the mound.
Craig Stammen took the mound for Washington in the eighth, and the Phillies broke the game open against the righty with three runs in the inning. Revere and Cody Asche hit consecutive singles before Chase Utley took an intentional walk to load the bases with one out. Byrd came through with a line drive single to left, scoring Revere and Asche, while Utley was caught in a rundown between second and third. Byrd would score two batters later on a single to center by Sizemore, giving the Phillies a 10-4 lead.
After a scoreless eighth for Giles, Jonathan Papelbon came in for the ninth to close the game, and retired the side in order to preserve the win for the Phillies.
Jimmy Rollins: 3-5, RBI, 2 SB (21)
Ben Revere: 4-6, 2 R, RBI
Grady Sizemore: 3-5, R, 3 RBI
Losing Lee made it hard to take any real positives from the game. Going down with the same injury as before could shelf Lee for the remainder of the season, and effectively kills any value he might have had in a trade. The other negative is that the Phillies used all of their relievers not named Phillipe Aumont tonight, which isn't a great way to start a four-game series on the road. Hollands and Diekman struggled, but at least DeFratus was solid in his 1.2 innings of work, and Giles continued to flash the stuff that big-time relievers are made of with three K's in 1.1 innings. Revere's steal of second in the eighth was his 30th of the season. The Phillies put nineteen men on base (17 hits, two walks), with each starting position player reaching base at least once.
The Phillies and Nationals continue their series Friday in Washington. Roberto Hernandez (5-8, 4.14 ERA) takes the mound for the Phillies, fresh off a 7-inning, four hit performance in a win against Arizona. The Nationals counter with Doug Fister (10-2, 2.69), who allowed no runs on three hits in his last start, a win against the Cincinatti Reds. The game starts at 7:05 pm.