If the Texas Rangers didn’t miss Cliff Lee before, they certainly do now.
The Phillies won their second straight game behind the arm of Lee and the bat of Ryan Howard as they shut out the Rangers, 2-0, Saturday night.
Lee was dealing against his former team, the same team that he led to the franchise’s first World Series berth a season again. He pitched eight innings of work, striking out 10 and scattering five hits and two walks. Ryan Madson pitched a one-hit 9th for his ninth save of the season.
Rangers starter Colby Lewis had another hard-luck loss. He pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out six.
Howard snapped an 0-for-23 slump with a solo homer in the 2nd inning. He finished the night 2-for-4 with an RBI. John Mayberry drove in the Phillies other run in the 6th.
The Phils finally snapped their seven-game streak of six or less hits. It was tied for the longest streak since 1908.
Domonic Brown made his first start of the 2011 season after spending the first month and a half in Lehigh nursing a fractured hand suffered in the spring and a strained thumb from a couple weeks ago.
Brown’s debut wasn’t glamorous at all, and in fact, was downright bad. But the expectations weren’t high for the rookie, who has had a pretty rough start of to his 2011 campaign.
Brown went 0-for-4 with two strike outs. He also stranded five runners on base.
One bright spot in Brown’s debut came on the base paths. With Howard at the plate with a quick 0-2 count and two outs in the bottom of the 1st, Brown attempted to steal second. Though he was gunned out, he erased Howard’s 0-2 count for the next inning, gave Big Brown three free pitches to look at and Howard capitalized with a home run to lead off the 2nd.
Even if Brown was safe at second, he would have put himself in scoring position for Howard to drive him in. It’s the little things that Brown can do that will make him a better player as he matures.
Brown did face a left-hander, Arthur Rhodes, in the 7th inning. That at-bat ended in a called third strike to end the inning, stranding a runner on first.
But as Charlie Manuel said yesterday, they know they have to work Brown in. He won’t get thrown into the fire facing left-handed starters just yet despite facing the reliever Rhodes in the 7th.
HR: Howard (10).
WP: Lee (3-4). LP: Lewis (4-5). S: Madson (9).