The phrasing of that title seems a bit odd: “Redeems Lee.”
There isn’t much wrong Cliff Lee could ever do to require any sort of redemption. But this is the sport of baseball and funny things happen in the sport of baseball.
Lee was one out away from his 7th shut out of the season, a thing us fans have become so accustomed to seeing every five days Lee takes the mound. But it wasn’t an ordinary day, especially with the weather.
With 8 2/3 innings of shut out ball in the books, Lee needed to get past Marlins first baseman Jose Lopez. But Lopez was having none of that fancy stuff, coming up huge during the Marlins final out and ripping a solo homer off Lee to tie the game 1-1.
Here is Lee, leaving his excellence all over the place like a dog’s scent, only to have it disrupted by Lopez. In fact. Lee was not only one out away from his 7th shut out but he was one out away from remaining toe-to-toe with Roy Halladay for an identical ERA and innings pitched.
The homer erased a solo blast by John Mayberry in the 6th inning – a missile that cut through the wind and hugged the left field foul poll. It erased Lee’s 9th double digit strikeout game of the season and 18th of his career when he struck out 12 and also erased his shot at his 17th win.
This is where the redemption kicks in. Burke Badenhop was not throwing strikes in the 10th. In fact, only two of the nine pitches he threw were strikes, the second a huge mistake.
After walking Michael Martinez on four pitches, Badenhop fell behind 3-0 to Ryan Howard. Howard took Badenhop’s 4th pitch for a strike before crushing his next offering into the alley in left-center to score Martinez easily from first and end the game in walk-off fashion, 2-1. The double also snapped an 0-for-15 slump that the Big Piece was in the middle of.
“Won’t you help to sing these songs of freedom? ‘Cause all I ever have – Redemption Songs.”
2B: Pence (37), Howard (28). HR: Mayberry (14).
WP: Schwimer (1-0). LP: Badenhop (2-2).
PIG WATCH: The IronPigs are on the brink of elimination after they unravel at home. Clippers win 6-2, with [Joe] Martinez getting the win with his 13 K’s.