In his first stint with the Phillies, Cliff Lee was a fan favorite for the entire city. When he was traded away, even knowing the team was aquiring the top pitcher in the game, the fanbase was devastated to see Cliff in Mariner blue. Then there were the reports that had Lee signing with the Yankees before the 2011 season, and everyone's heart melted. However, a mystery team that ended up being the Phillies themselves, swooped in and brought Clifton back home. Now, in the past three seasons, the love affair with Lee has reached an all-time hi, and tonight's game was a statement on not only the season, but his career.
Now, the Phillies were facing a man making his first major league start, but it was still an entertaining one. The scoring began early for the home squad. After a walk and a double by Cesar Hernandez and Jimmy Rollins put two in scoring position, Chase Utley productively grounded out to second to record the game's first RBI, and gave the Phils a 1-0 lead.
The Phillies bats would break back out in the second, led off by a one-out single by Hernandez. Jimmy Rollins walked to put two on, and Chase Utley would come up big again. A three-run homerun into right field extended the Philly lead to 4-0. Carlos Ruiz made the second out next, but Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf would get on next to give Cody Asche an RBI opportunity. A single by the third baseman brought Brown home to score. roger Bernadina walked to load the bases and give Cliff Lee the chance to support himself. In his second at-bat of the inning, Lee singled into right for 2 RBIs, and knocked Sam Dyson out of the game early. The Phillies left the inning with a 7-0 advantage.
Unhittable through the first four, Lee showed a bit of weakness in the fifth. Justin Ruggiano began that inning by doubling into left field. Adam Hechavarria singled with one away to bring Ruggiano home, and the shutout of the Marlins came to an end.
Darin Ruf began the home half of the fifth with a single. After the next two batters were set aside, Cliff Lee lifted a ball into deep right-center field, just missing his first homerun of the season. Instead, he would settle for his first career triple, and his third RBI of the game. Cesar Hernandez followed with his second hit of the game to make the Philly lead 9-1.
Two doubles in the sixth by Ed Lucas and Justin Ruggiano would bring home the second Marlin run of the game. Two young Phillies would help to get that run, and an extra one, back in the next half inning. With two away, Dom Brown would walk. This meant that Darin Ruf's homerun in the next at bat was a 2-run one. His 14th shot of the year gave the Phillies an 11-2 lead.
Not to be outdone by his teammates, Cliff Lee not only continued to pitch, but continued to bring runs home. After Roger Bernadina tripled to start the seventh, Lee recorded his third hit and fourth RBI of the ball game. The 12-2 score stayed the same through the end of the game, and the Phillies would run away with the win.
Just in case you didn't love Cliff Lee enough, just look at some of the things he accomplished in tonight's game. The three hits were the most in a game for his career. 4 RBIs were not only his career-high, but a high for any Phillies pitcher in over 10 years. His 14 strikeouts tied the high game total by any National League pitcher this season. The strikeout total put him over 200 in a season once again. His eight innings put him over 200 for a season once again. What more could you ask for in a player.
Anyway, there is other baseball to be played. Tomorrow night, Roy Halladay will take the mound, again looking to make a triumphant comeback. He will be opposed by the Marlins' Brian Flynn at 7:05.