Cliff Lee took a Gatorade bath at the hands of Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay after notching his first win in 14 starts this season.
It’s over now. And it’s been a long time coming.
Cliff Lee, who has been both the victim and the perpetrator this season has finally won his 1st game of the season. More importantly, he helped the Phillies end a 6-game skid AND looked a lot like the Cliff Lee this city has come to expect.
Lee struck out 9 batters in 8 innings on a hot New York afternoon at Citi Field. Despite a very strong outing, Lee’s fate was still very much in doubt as the game reached the 7th inning. Lee gave up a home run to Jerry Hairston in the 4th inning and allowed another run in the 5th.
In the top of the 7th though, the very same phenomenon that started this miserable funk for the Phillies may have ended it. Chase Utley stepped to the plate with Juan Pierre at 1st base and slammed a pitch into Utley’s corner for his second home run of the season. That shot tied the game at 2. Next up, Carlos Ruiz who launched his 2nd homer in two days and 13th on the year to give the Phillies their first lead of the series.
The flood gates opened after that, and the Phillies went on to earn a 9-2 win.
Much has been made of Lee’s struggles this year. Lee is making $21.5 million this year in the 2nd year of his contract with the Phillies. He entered the day winless on the season at 0-5 with a 4.13 ERA.
In some cases Lee pitched well earlier in the season but was let down by an inept offense, shaky defense and a bad bullpen. Recently, his struggles were his own doing, allowing 20 earned runs in his last 4 starts for 7.43 ERA.
It’s over now, though, and Lee was all smiles after the game, even after he was doused in Gatorade by teammates Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay. It was Cliff Lee’s first win since September 26th of last year.
Perhaps now the Phillies can get it in gear.
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