After their most agonizing week of the 2013 season so far, the Phillies have finally gotten back in the win column, as they defeated the Twins 3-2 to salvage one game in the three-game series.
It took a late rally and a stellar performance from Cliff Lee for the Phils to end their season-long, five-game losing streak, but they were able to pull it out. Finally, they scratched out a win against a bad team.
CLIFTON PHIFER LEE
– For six innings tonight, Cliff Lee was dealing, and it was a thing of beauty. He threw 76 pitches–56 for strikes– and didn’t allow a baserunner until the fourth inning. In fact, he faced the minimum through six innings. Though the Phils had only managed one run, it seemed like they might be able to squeak out a victory the way Lee was throwing. He seemed on pace for the complete game. Then the wheels fells off.
– With one out in the seventh, Lee issued a walk–his first of the night. The Twins then caught a break when Ryan Doumit was called safe on a bang-bang play at first. In real time he appeared to be out, and replays confirmed that fact. The blown call perfectly encapsulated the way things have gone for the Phillies lately, a team as snake-bitten as any. After a flyout, Justin Morneau sent a hard line drive toward the gap. A diving Ben Revere came up just short, and, with two outs, the double cleared the bases, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead, and the Phils appeared to be on their way to another loss.
– As well as Lee pitched, he deserved better. Fortunately, the team would manage to pull the game out and get him the W.
THE OFFENSE STARTS EARLY, FINISHES LATE
– Charlie Manuel did one of his patented lineup switches tonight–and they happen often with this bunch–in hopes of getting the bats going. It worked… sorta.
The Phils managed to push a run across in the first when Ryan Howard shot a grounder through the hole on the right side to score Revere. Then, in typical Phillies fashion, they shut it down for awhile.
– The team had a pretty good approach against Kevin Correia, making him throw 113 pitches in just five innings. However the run in the first was all they could push across against the journeyman, despite getting eight hits, a walk and having two players reach on an error against him. This team simply cannot score runs, even when they’re doing other things right. They came close when Young was thrown out at the plate to end the sixth, but that was really the only threat of a run after the first inning. After Lee gave up the lead in the seventh, they looked dead in the water. Enter Kevin Frandsen:
FRANDSEN SPARKS A RALLY
– After what appeared to be a back-breaking bottom of the seventh inning, the Phillies allowing another slim lead to slip away late in Minnesota, Manuel opted to pinch hit for Humberto Quintero with Frandsen. The gambit paid off. Frandsen sent a double into the gap in right to lead off the first. Following a Revere bunt for a hit, Michael Young singled down the right field line to tie it, and then Revere scored on a fielder’s choice, when Morneau opted to come home with a groundball but couldn’t get the fleet-footed centerfielder. The Phils once again ::gulp:: had a lead late against the Twins.
ADAMS NAVIGATES THE EIGHTH, PAP CLOSES IT OUT
– After failing to pitch a clean inning the other night, Manuel went right back to Mike Adams in hopes that the righthander could hold a lead and get the Phils to Jonathan Papelbon. Adams was critical of himself after his bad outing on Tuesday, and he looked like a man determined to pitch better. He set the Twins down in order, needing just 12 strikes to get the job done. For the first time in this series, the Phils took a lead into the eighth and made it through to the other side.
– That brought on Papelbon, who hadn’t pitched since Sunday’s blowout loss in Milwaukee. The layoff didn’t seem to affect him, as he breezed through the ninth. That makes 12 saves in 12 opportunities for Pap, and he’s done it with a 1.52 ERA. If only all their relievers could pitch this way.
– Revere hitting has been a regularity of late. He went 4-for-6 tonight, including hitting his third triple of the season, and is now batting .322 since May 1. He also has ten stolen bases during that span. Tonight marked the first four-hit game of the season for Revere.
– The Phillies left 15 runners on base tonight, a season high.