Is Cliff Lee Still A Phillie? Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Philadelphia Phillies' lefty Cliff Lee left tonight's game in the bottom of the third with what appeared to be an elbow injury. Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez did not appear to be injured, but after giving up five runs in a 30-pitch fourth inning, the Nats' starter was out of the game as well, having thrown 77 pitches in 3 ⅔ IP.
5-0 Phillies after three and a half on a two-run double by Grady Sizemore, fielder's choice on a play at the plate, an RBI single Ben Revere and a misplay at second on what should have been an inning-ending DP.
The Nationals scored their first run in the bottom of the inning with Anthony Rendon walking, taking second on a wild pitch and scoring on an RBI single to center by Wilson Ramos. 5-1 Philadelphia after four.
Back-to-back singles by Bryce Harper and Kevin Frandsen and a hit-by-pitch on pinch hitter Scott Hairston loaded the bases for Denard Span in the Nationals' fifth and a two-run single through the right side of the infield made it a 5-3 game in the Phillies' favor.
The Phillies scored two in the sixth, however, with Ben Revere singling, taking second on a wild pitch and scoring on an RBI single by Jimmy Rollins. Rollins took second on another wild pitch, stole third and scored on a sac fly by Chase Utley. 7-3 Phillies after five and a half in D.C.
Kevin Frandsen doubled (no.6) and scored from second on an RBI line drive to center by Danny Espinosa that made it a 3-run game, 7-4.
Marlon Byrd hit a bases-loaded line drive to left in the eighth for a 9-4 lead then scored on a two-out single to center by Grady Sizemore. 10-4.
That's how it ended... mercifully.
4. Gonzalez in D.C.: Gio Gonzalez struck out eight and gave up just four hits and one earned run in seven innings of work in Cincinnati, Ohio's Great American Ball Park the last the time out on the mound, but the Washington Nationals dropped a 1-0 decision to the Reds last Saturday afternoon in which he took the loss.
Unfortunately for the Nats' 28-year-old lefty, Johnny Cueto was better that day (or the Nats' hitters produced less than the Reds' hitters), throwing seven scoreless in which he struck out nine, gave up just four hits and walked three batters before handing it off to the Reds' bullpen.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams said Gonzalez's success in Cincinnati was a result of the left-hander pounding the zone.
"When he throws strikes early on he settles in really nice," Williams told reporters. "His curveball was good today. Johnny Cueto's a pretty good pitcher. So we just couldn't muster."
Nationals' outfielder Bryce Harper too was impressed with both starters.
"Cueto is good," Harper said. "There's nothing you can do. Gio threw great. Cueto did a great job. I think we left eight guys on base or something like that. It happens. Cueto is a great pitcher. He executes on everything he does. Sometimes you've just got to tip your cap."
The loss to the Reds left Gonzalez (1-2) in four July starts with a 2.52 ERA, a 2.57 FIP, nine walks (3.24 BB/9), 27 Ks (9.72 K/9) and a .205/.278/.284 line against over 25 IP this month.
Gonzalez was back in the nation's capital tonight taking on the Philadelphia Phillies for the second time this season after dropping a decision to the Nats' NL East rivals back in early May when he once again took the loss in a 1-0 game, giving up just four hits, two walks and one earned run in 7 ⅓ only to have veteran right-hander Roberto Hernandez throws seven scoreless.
That outing left the one-time Phillies' prospect (5-3) in nine starts against Philadelphia in which he's put up a 2.48 ERA with 20 walks (3.10 BB/9) and 63 Ks (9.78 K/9) in 58 IP over which Philly hitters have put up a combined .210/.283/.333 line against him.
The 10th start of Gonzalez's career against the Phillies began with...
1st: Ben Revere grounded out to second to start the game. Jimmy Rollins sent a bloop single over second for the Phillies' first hit. Chase Utley grounded to first, allowing Kevin Frandsen to cut down the lead runner, taking a force at second. Marlon Byrd stepped in with two outs and sent a fly ball out to right to end a 13-pitch frame.
2nd: Carlos Ruiz popped out to Denard Span in center for the first out of the second. Grady Sizemore lined out to Ian Desmond at short. Darin Ruf K'd swinging. 16-pitch second for Gonzalez, 29 total after two scoreless.
3rd: Andres Blanco took a 3-1 fastball back up the middle for a leadoff single in the Phillies' third. Cliff Lee tried to bunt Blanco over, but K'd trying to give up an out. Ben Revere singled on a line drive to center to put runners on first and second in front of Jimmy Rollins. Rollins sent out no.2 to center. Chase Utley worked the count full but sent out no.3 to Bryce Harper on the track in left field. 18-pitch frame, 47 pitches total after three.
4th: Marlon Byrd singled through short on an 81 mph 1-2 change to start the top of the fourth. Carlos Ruiz did the same on the next pitch from Gonzalez. Grady Sizemore stepped in with two on and no one out and doubled to the out-of-town scoreboard in right for a two-run extra base hit. 2-0. Darin Ruf walked to put two on with no one out. Andres Blanco bunted both runners over/gave up an out. Domonic Brown hit for Antonio Bastardo and grounded to second to bring Sizemore in ahead of Danny Espinosa's ill-advised, late, throw home. 3-0 Phillies. Ben Revere's single through the right side of the infield brought Ruf in to make it 4-0 Philadelphia. Jimmy Rollins just missed a three-run home run, sending a long fly ball to left that ended up foul, but he lined a single to left instead to load the bases with one down. Chase Utley sent a DP grounder to second, but Ian Desmond dropped the toss from Danny Espinosa and settled for a force, 5-0 when Domonic Brown scored. Gonzalez was done there, 30 pitches into the inning...
• Gio Gonzalez's Line: 3.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 77 P, 47 S, 5/4 GO/FO.
3. Lee in D.C.: An elbow strain in mid-May landed Cliff Lee on the DL and cost the veteran left-hander two months of his 13th MLB season. The Phillies' starter returned to the mound on July 21st, but reports on his first two starts since coming off the Disabled List have said that he has been understandably rusty, giving up 21 hits and nine earned runs (7.59 ERA) in 10 ⅔ IP over which opposing hitters from the Giants and D-Backs put up a .438/.481/.583 line against him.
Though there was some question about whether or not Lee would still be a part of the Phillies' rotation when the four-game series in the nation's capital began tonight, he took the mound in Nationals Park to face Washington for the seventh time in his career at just past 7:15PM.
In the Nats' home before tonight, the veteran southpaw was (3-2) with a 3.57 ERA, seven walks (1.56 BB/9) and 40 Ks (8.93 K/9) in 40 ⅓ IP in which he held Nationals' hitters to a .256/.291/.429 line.
Overall against the Phillies' NL East rivals in his career, Lee was (6-4) in 12 starts before the series opener in D.C. with a 2.74 ERA, 12 walks (1.27 BB/9) and 83 Ks (8.75 K/9) in 85 ⅓ IP in which Nats' hitters put up a .251/.279/.431 line against him.
Two fly ball outs and a backwards K from Denard Span, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth, respectively, got Cliff Lee through a quick, 11-pitch, 1-2-3 first. Two groundouts around a backwards K got Lee through a nine-pitch second that left him at 20 pitches total after two.
"Right Side" Danny Espinosa doubled off the center field wall for the first hit off Cliff Lee with one down in the Nationals' third, but Gio Gonzalez K'd swinging for out no.2. But after a first-pitch ball to Denard Span, Lee dropped an F-bomb, walked off the mound and called for the trainer, motioning to his elbow with his glove, then left the game...
2. Turning Point(s): Gio Gonzalez started the game with three scoreless, but things fell apart in the top of the fourth as the Phillies batted around and and knocked him out in the process, scoring five runs for a 5-0 lead.
The Nationals rallied with a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth, but a two-run sixth by the Phillies gave them a 7-3 lead as Jerry Blevins once again struggled on the mound.
The Nats threatened again in the seventh, scoring a run on a RBI single by Danny Espinosa and bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Jayson Werth, but the Phillies' sixth pitcher of the night, Ken Giles, threw a 100 mph 3-2 fastball by Werth to end the threat and strand two runners.
1. The Long Wrap-Up: Antonio Bastardo took over on the mound for Cliff Lee in the bottom of the third and got a line drive to center from Denard Span that Ben Revere caught to end the inning.
Ross Detwiler took over on the mound in the top of the fourth with runners on the corners, two outs and Marlon Byrd up for the second time in the inning and got the last out without further damage, but the Phillies led 5-0 after three and a half in the series opener.
Philly lefty Mario Hollands took over on the mound in the bottom of the fourth inning. Anthony Rendon walked to start the frame and took second on a wild pitch to Jayson Werth before scoring one out later on an RBI single to center by Wilson Ramos. 5-1 Phillies. ian Desmond grounded into a 4-6-3 DP in the next AB, however, to end the inning with the Phillies ahead by four.
Anthony Rendon charged a one-out grounder off Grady Sizemore's bat and threw to first where Kevin Frandsen, in for Adam LaRoche today, whiffed on the catch. Sizemore took second on the error, but was caught stealing trying for third, so he didn't score when Darin Ruf lined to center one pitch later. Andres Blanco lined out to center to end the top of the fifth.
Bryce Harper sent a grounder back to the mound and off Hollands' glove for a leadoff single. Kevin Frandsen lined to left for the second straight hit, but Danny Espinosa popped up on a bunt attempt for out no.1. Nats' pinch hitter Scott Hairston stepped in for Ross Detwiler and took a base-loading HBP. Denard Span singled through the right side to drive two in and make it a 5-3 game. Justin DeFratus was the fourth pitcher of the game for the Phillies, and he got the next two outs without another run scoring. 5-3 Phillies after five.
Jerry Blevins gave up a one-out single by Ben Revere, who took second on a wild pitch with Jimmy Rollins up and scored on an RBI single to left. 6-3. Rollins took second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on a sac fly to left by Chase Utley. 7-3 Philly after five and a half.
De Fratus threw a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the sixth.
Aaron Barrett threw an 18-pitch seventh, working around a throwing error by Anthony Rendon.
Philly lefty Jake Diekman gave up a leadoff double to left via the third base line by Kevin Frandsen. Danny Espinosa sent a 96 mph 1-2 fastball back up the middle for an RBI single. 7-4. Nate McLouth K'd swinging for the first out of the frame. Denard Span rrrripped a line drive to right on a 96 mph 2-2 fastball, sending Espinosa first-to-third™ after he avoided the ball. Anthony Rendon lined sharply to right for out no.2. Jayson Werth stepped up with runners on the corners, and pitcher no.6 of the night for the Phillies came on...
Ken Giles went to a full count vs Jayson Werth and threw a 100 mph fastball by the Nats' outfielder. 7-4 Phillies after seven.
Cody Asche lined a single to center to start the eighth and Ben Revere bounced a grounder off Craig Stammen's heel on the mound, putting runners on the corners with no one out. Revere stole second as Jimmy Rollins struck out, so Stammen walked Chase Utley intentionally to set up the DP. Marlon Byrd wouldn't go with the plan, however, as he lined to left to drive in two runs. 9-4. 10-4 when Byrd scored on an RBI single by Grady Sizemore.
Ken Giles threw a scoreless 13-pitch eighth.
Craig Stammen retired the Phillies in order in the top of the ninth.
Jonathan Papelbon came on with a six-run lead and retired the Nationals in order. Ballgame. 10-4 final.
Nationals now 58-47