Saturday’s Phillies game against the Braves featured Cliff Lee doing it all and everyone else, not so much. Lee pitched eight very solid innings of one run ball, allowing only three hits and striking out nine batters. he even made a few diving plays on the field.
But the Braves starting pitcher, Tommy Hanson, matched Lee. He also allowed just one run.
And that one run was something very special. After a 10-pitch at-bat and six foul balls, the Phillies pitcher, Cliff Lee, smashed his 1st career home run off Hanson in the third inning. Yes, the man really can do it all.
Lee ran the bases smiling and even looking a little giddy as fans went wild, realizing the importance of the moment. It is not every day we see a pitcher hit a home run. And for a guy like Lee, who gives it 110% every time he is on the field, it was especially rewarding.
While Lee did everything he could to help the team win, sadly, the rest of the team did not join him. Of course, they were facing an amazing pitcher so most expected this to be a close game. But the Phillies had some opportunities to score and did not execute.
John Mayberry Jr. doubled in the sixth, but then left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th. Ryan Howard went 0-5, leaving two men on base in the sixth, including Mayberry. And Raul Ibanez, the hero of Friday night’s 10-inning win, made the last out Saturday in the 11th with a fly ball.
In extra innings, the Phillies leaned on the same bullpen pieces as they had the night before, only in a different order. Antonio Bastardo and Juan Perez pitched a scoreless the 9th and 10th. And then Michael Stutes gave up three runs in the 11th.
A foul ball pop-up made the 11th interesting as Howard dropped the ball, but it was a very tough play in and out of the shadows. Overall, the defense was solid, but that one, plus a walk to start the inning, turned out to be important later.
So the Phillies lost 4-1 and go into today’s game with a chance to win the series. Game time is 1:35pm and Cole Hamels will pitch. Derek Lowe is scheduled to start for the Braves.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography