The Phillies offense gave Cliff Lee two big swings in the 2nd inning and that was all he would need in the opener of a four-game set against the Giants.
Lee did his part and the offense gave him just enough support as the Phillies took the first game of the series against the Giants, a 2-0 shut out win. It was the seventh straight win for the Phils, who are running away with the NL East as well as with the best record in baseball for the second straight year.
Hitting against one of the best pitching rotations in baseball, Lee was going to need to be on top of his game if he wanted to have a crack at a win. Lee went the distance, allowing seven hits and striking out eight. Lee’s first ever start as a Phillie was back on July 31, 2009 in this exact same ball park and he threw a four-hitter in that game as well.
It was Lee’s fifth shut out of the season, a dominant league-leading stat.
Lee was backed by some stellar defense as well. Ryan Howard made arguably the catch of the game despite a putrid night at the plate. Howard hustled down the first base line into foul territory on a pop-up to make an over-the-shoulder grab, showing shades of Willie Mays. He also dug a couple balls out of the dirt with ease. Placido Polanco was tremendous as well, making a diving stop on a ground ball and a leaping catch on a line drive.
The Phillies lone two runs came in the 2nd. Hunter Pence led-off the inning with a solo home run to left field. It was Pence’s first home run as a Phillie and 12th of the season.
John Mayberry, getting the start in left field against the left-handed throwing Madison Bumgarner, followed up Pence’s homer with a solo shot of his own. Having Pence once again helps the Phillies with the little things, like giving them another right-handed bat to insert into the line up against a tough lefty.
Bumgarner’s night was impressive, though mired by two mistakes in the 2nd. He pitched eight fantastic innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out nine.
The home run in the 2nd inning, highlighted a big game for Pence, who was 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.
HR: Pence (12), Mayberry (8).
WP: Lee (11-7). LP: Bumgarner (6-11).