For the second straight night, the Phillies managed to pull off a remarkable, come-from-behind victory over the Brewers, once again defeating them 7-6 after taking the lead late. Erik Kratz and Carlos Ruiz fueled an exciting four-run eighth inning to put the Phillies in front. It looked bleak for seven and a half innings, but that’s why they play nine.
BREW CREW BATTERS LEE
– Coming into tonight’s game, Cliff Lee’s 4.74 career ERA against the Brewers was the third highest for Lee against NL opponents. He lived up to that reputation tonight, surrendering six runs over 7+ innings.
– For a while, Lee was able to tread water and keep the Brewers at bay with the help of some defense. First, Hunter Pence picked up an outfield assist when he gunned down a runner at home for the second out of the first. Lee would keep the Brewers from scoring again in the frame or the next two innings.
– In the fifth, Lee used a little showmanship to pick a runner off of third with the bases loaded and one out. After walking Norichika Aoki, Lee stepped looked over at Martin Maldonado, who had just arrived at third base, and gave him the universal I’m-watching-you signal, pointing his index fingers at his eyes. Maldonado looked perplexed, and Lee made the motion again. The gesture hypnotized Maldonado, who was stunned when Lee threw over to third. Maldonado broke for home, and was tagged in a rundown for the second out. The Brewers wouldn’t score in the inning. Pence’s display of skill and Lee’s knack for deception would prove beneficial considering the Phillies slim margin of victory.
– Considering how he pitched, one run through five innings made it seem as though fate could’ve been on Lee’s side tonight. It was not. His luck would run out the next inning when Ryan Braun crushed a ball deep to center field. Zach Greinke–yes, starting pitcher Zach Greinke–hit his third career home run in the seventh to make it 3-1 (It marked the second time in four games an opposing pitcher homered off the Phillies). Lee would give up the last of his runs in the eighth on two more home runs, a solo shot and a two-run shot, the third and fourth of the night for the Brewers. For Lee, things quickly spiraled out of control and before anyone knew it, the game looked out of reach. Especially with what Lee’s counterpart was doing on the mound.
GREINKE SHUTS DOWN PHILS’ BATS
– After walking off against K-Rod last night, the Phillies offense had a daunting task in facing Brewers ace Zach Greinke, who has posted a 7-0 record and 2.00 ERA in nine starts following a loss this season. Greinke’s eleven days of rest before this start made the job of hitting against him all the more challenging. Most of the variables were in his favor, and he took advantage. Ryan Howard would have an RBI single to tie it in the first, but that would be all of the scoring the team could muster off the right-hander. Greinke went seven innings, striking out five and walking none. He retired the final fourteen hitters he faced.
– Greinke was lifted for a reliever after the seventh, despite throwing just 87 pitches. It was a peculiar move by Ron Roenicke, considering Greinke’s pitch count, and the fact that he watched his bullpen blow a sizable lead last night. But Roenicke wanted the bullpen and he got the bullpen.
BREWERS BULLPEN STRIKES AGAIN
– In the eighth, Erik Kratz hit his third home run–which also happened to be his third hit–of the season, this one a two-run blast. It made the score 6-3, and set up things for a scenario eerily similar to last night’s comeback victory for the Phillies. Following the homer, the Phils loaded the bases with two outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of team MVP and resident Panamanian god, Carlos Ruiz. As usual, he wouldn’t disappoint, belting a bases-clearing double into the gap and dropping tons of impending criticism down on Ron Roenicke, who opted to rely on his shaky bullpen. The decision became even more costly when Pence blooped a single into right to score Ruiz one batter later.
– The Phillies scored four runs and brought ten men to the plate in the inning to fuel their second-straight unexpected comeback. Over the last few games, this team has started to resemble the one we became so familiar with over the last five seasons. Papelbon shut the Brewers down 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth, without even an inkling of a hiccup, and just like that, the Phillies had won a game they should’ve lost. After what has been an abysmal season so far, it’s felt really good to see the Phils snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
– The Phillies have now won five series at home this season. Tonight marks the first time they’ve won a series at home since June 20th when they defeated the Rockies in the second game of a three-game set.