Same song, different verse.
For the sixth straight time, the Phillies failed to give Cliff Lee the run support he needed as they fell to the Cardinals 3-1. Cliff Lee is now winless in his sixth straight start, and the Phillies have now lost a season high three straight games.
The feeble Phillies lineup, that included Wilson Valdez batting second and Raul Ibanez batting third, mustered just one run on four hits off Jake Westbrook. To put it in perspective, two of those hits came from the same player (Jimmy Rollins), and one came from Lee. Going into the game Westbrook had an ERA of 6.20, but the Phillies made him look like the 2012 NL Cy Young award winner.
The other hit came gave the Phils the early 1-0 lead as Ben Francisco hit a RBI single to left that scored John Mayberry Jr. from second. It was the first run the Phillies had scored while Cliff Lee was pitching since April 14th. Pete Orr prevented the Phils from scoring any more runs in the inning by grounding into a fielder’s choice and then getting picked off at first.
The Cardinals would tie it up in the bottom of the fourth inning on a line drive RBI single by Nick Punto that scored Matt Holiday from third. The Cards would take the lead on another line drive single to right field, this time by Ryan Theriot. Lance Berkman scored, but Yadier Molina was called out at home on a great play by Chooch to end the inning.
Both Holiday and Berkman, who scored the two runs in the inning, were walked back to back by Cliff Lee. Lee was very un-Lee like, walking six batters in the game. Going into tonight’s game he had walked just seven batters, but tonight’s six walks was a career high for Lee. Before tonight, Lee’s strikeout to walk ratio was 9:1, but his ratio tonight was 4:6. His inability to find home plate umpire Gerry Davis’ strike zone not only put runners on base, but drove Lee’s pitch count up to 122 and forced him out of the game with one out in the seventh inning despite allowing just three runs.
The Cardinals tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh on Jon Jay’s line drive single to center that scored Punto and ended Lee’s night. Michael Stutes relived Lee and forced Albert Pujols into a double play to end the inning and prevent any further damage.
The Phillies conclude their series at St Louis tomorrow at 8:15 with Roy Oswalt making his first start since coming off the DL.
2B: Rollins (8)
WP: Westbrook (3-3) LP: Lee (2-4) S: Salas (4)