The Phillies kicked off their seven-game road trip in style on Monday night in San Francisco, notching a 6-2 victory over the world champion Giants behind the arm of Cliff Lee and the bat of Michael Young. Lee sparkled in 8 innings, looking very much like the dominant starter we saw in early April. Young knocked in two runs, scored another and had three hits and an intentional walk.
CLIFTON DAZZLES AGAIN IN STOPPER ROLE
– As I pointed out in today’s Gameday, Lee had been dominant in two of three starts that have come after Doc disasters. Make that three of four. Monday night’s performance was vintage Cliff Lee. The lefthander worked quickly, was economical with his pitches and had elite command. Of the 102 pitches he threw, a remarkable 71 were strikes. His final line; 8 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 6 K, 0 BB… and one line drive single.
– Not only did Lee only surrender 5 hits, he induced a trio of double play groundouts that enabled him to get through eight innings. Lee faced one batter over the minimum through seven. Pence was the only Giant that Lee had trouble with. Pence was 3 for 3 and finished a triple shy of the cycle.
YOUNG, OFFENSE IMPRESSIVE VERSUS BUMGARNER
– After a two-out Chase Utley walk loaded the bases in the second inning, Young laced a two-run double down the right field line off Madison Bumgarner. Utley scored shortly thereafter on a wild pitch from Bumgarner, making it 3-0 Phillies. The Phils also loaded the bases in the first inning, but were unable to get on the board.
– Young had himself a night at the plate. The veteran third baseman went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs, raising his average to .333. While the home runs haven’t been there for Young, everything else has been this year. In a lineup plagued with inconsistency, Young has gone consecutive starts without a hit exactly once. With a lefty specialist on the mound, the Giants chose to intentionally walk Young in the eighth with a runner on third.
– Domonic Brown turned on an inside fastball in the fifth inning, launching it deep to right over the outstretched arms of fans and into McCovey Cove. It looked like Bumgarner hit his spot, but Brown was quick enough to get the bat head out in front – just the latest evidence that the adjustments he made, courtesy of Wally Joyner, are paying off. Brown now has three home runs in six games in May. He had three home runs in all of April.
– Jimmy Rollins’ offensive woes continued, as he went 0 for 4. The shortstop got jammed on a 1-1 count in the second inning with runners on second and third and one out, fisting a weak flare to Andres Torres in center that wasn’t deep enough to allow John Mayberry to tag from third. Two batters later, Young picked Rollins up with an RBI double. In the fourth inning, Rollins struck out with a runner on second and one out. However, Rollins was able to plate Erik Kratz via an eighth inning sac fly.
DID YOU NOTICE?
– AT&T Park sure is cavernous. Utley connected with a pitch in the first inning that looked every bit like a home run off the bat. Torres settled under it just before the warning track.
– One pitch after taking what looked like strike three, Pence lined a home run over the left field wall off Lee to cut the Phils lead to 3-1. Cool as ever, Lee quickly retired the next two batters without a hint of protest.
– Rollins and Ryan Howard combined for a brilliant play in the third when Rollins snagged a hot shot up the middle on one hop, spun, and fired to Howard, who caught it on a short hop. The play prompted Tom McCarthy to note that Howard hasn’t made an error at first base in 63 games. A Howard field-and-throw started a double play in the eighth that got Lee out of trouble.
– Cliff Lee slapped a line drive to left field in the fourth. After a 1 for 2 night at the plate, Lee’s slash line reads .231/.286/.231 for the year. For comparison, the struggling Ben Revere is the owner of a .212/.264/.232 line.
– Bumgarner was not himself tonight. He allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks over six innings, and seemed to take his frustration with the umpire out to the mound with him. Give the Phillies credit – they’ve always struggled with lefties of his caliber, but they made Bumgarner pay on Monday.
– Brown got up slowly after making a diving catch in the sixth inning. He initially took a step back but recovered nicely to make the play. Brown also seemed to have some trouble with a high fly ball in the ninth inning, but again was able to make the catch.