A night after shutting out the Yankees, the Phillies found themselves on the other side of things today, getting shutout by the Tigers, 1-0. The Cliff Lee and Justin Verlander pitching duel met expectations as both aces were sharp this afternoon.
The Game: The Tigers were the first to bat and the first to get on the board. After striking out Rajai Davis to lead off the inning, Cliff Lee surrendered a triple to Ian Kinsler. Miguel Cabrera followed with an RBI groundout, scoring Kinsler to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.
The Tigers threatened again in the second, but came up empty this time. Alex Avila led off the inning with a single. Cliff Lee struck out Nick Castellanos, but Tyler Collins reached first base on a force attempt, thanks to a Ryan Howard throwing error. Luckily, with runners on first and second and only one out, Howard's error didn't end up being costly. The next batter, Andrew Romine, grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Fast forward to the top of the seventh with Antonio Bastardo on the mound. Alex Avila struck out the start things. A fielding error by Cesar Hernandez at third base allowed Nick Castellanos to reach first. Tyler Collins followed with a single to put runners on first and second with just one out. Bastardo ended the threat by getting Andrew Romine to pop-out in the infield and Ezquiel Carrera to fly out to left.
The Phillies looked to capitalize with some runners on in the bottom of the seventh after not registering a hit past the first inning. Reid Brignac drew a walk against Justin Verlander. Up next was Edgar Duran, who sacrificed Brignac over to second with a bunt. Phil Coke relieved Verlander with a runner on second and one out. Ryan Howard was up next and had a very patient at-bat, drawing a walk to put runners on first and second with one out. Coke rebounded by striking out Marlon Byrd and getting Tony Gwynn Jr. to fly out to center.
The Phillies were unable to bring home the tying run from third with two outs in the ninth.
Phillipe Aumont, Antonio Bastardo, BJ Rosenberg and Jake Diekman all threw scorless innings. Cliff Lee went five innings, gave up one run on six hits. He struck out seven.
Justin Verlander had his way with the Phils today, pitching 6 1/3 innings of one hit ball. He walked one and struck out seven.
Notable Offensive Performances:
Chase Utley: 1-2
Ryan Howard: 0-2, BB, 2 K's
Marlon Byrd: 0-3, 3 K's
Impact: After hitting back-to-back homers last night, Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd went a combined 0-5 with five strikeouts and a walk. The entire offense could not hit Justin Verlander, who looked in midseason form. What seems to be a common good note is the Phillies bullpen. After Cliff Lee left the game, the bullpen arms combined for four scorless frames, striking out four. Cliff Lee continued his stellar spring with another great outing that included seven strikeouts. The Phils had a hard time against Verlander, but looked lost even after he left the game.
Up Next: The Phillies send AJ Burnett (1-2, 7.53) to the hill tomorrow against the Blue Jays. Drew Hutchison (0-1, 2.79) will take the mound for Toronto. Gametime is set for 1:05PM.
Brandon Apter is a writer for Philliedelphia. Follow him on Twitter @ApterShock