In the month of June, Cliff Lee was untouchable. After five starts, he allowed only one run and threw 3-consecutive complete game shut-outs. But today, it was apparent that the magical month of June was officially over for Lee.
Prior to the game, the vibes were nothing but positive. The Phillies were so loose and happy that they laughed and chatted with the mass of fans standing behind the dugout, most of whom had travelled great distances to see their team play in Toronto. Many bantered with a particularly exuberant fan a few feet away from me who was shouting their names one after another.
The Phillies are always great with the fans, but today there was a level of interaction that I have never seen before during warm-ups. Everyone was smiling and laughing, even the Blue Jays fans and stadium employees. Nothing but hugs and smiles, literally:
So when the game began, it felt like nothing could quell the excitement. The Phillies offense got off to a hot start, scoring four runs in the second inning. It looked like the bats were going to be hot all day.
But perhaps the Phillies were a bit too relaxed going into this one. Because after the second inning, the offense went right to sleep.
However, with Cliff Lee pitching, it seemed like four runs should get the job done. But through seven innings, Lee had allowed three runs narrowing the Phils lead to 4-3. Multiple stolen bases and balls finding holes put the Jays back in the game.
Shane Victorino added to the drama of the day when he got his cleat stuck in the astro turf and jammed his thumb. He was eventually fine and stayed in the game. But then in the eighth after hitting a double, Victorino got picked off leaning too far off base.
Then in the bottom of the eighth inning, the wheels completely fell off. On the first pitch of the inning, Eric Thames took Lee deep to centerfield to tie the game. And the horror did not end there. Jose Bautista homered next, as he did in each game of this series. An Adam Lind single was followed shortly after by the third home run of inning, this time from Edwin Encarnacion.
And just like that, Lee was lifted from the game and the Phillies were down by a score of 7-4.
So while they did not sweep, the Phillies still won 2 out of 3 in this series to end Interleague play for the year. The Marlins are up next starting tomorrow night at 6:10pm.
Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game. Once I return home at the end of the week, I will also post photos from the rest of my trip to Canada for anyone who is curious. Check back for that.
The All-Stars have been announced. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Placido Polanco will be representing the Phillies!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography