Lee's stellar effort wasted in Phillies' defeat
SAN FRANCISCO – The Phillies got their best pitching performance since Roy Halladay’s playoff no-hitter of 2010 on Wednesday night. Amazingly, they managed to lose the game.
They could not scratch out a measly run in support of Cliff Lee, who became the first pitcher to throw 10 shutout innings in a game since 2005.
Lee was out of the game and in the dugout when his night ended in disappointment with reliever Antonio Bastardo giving up a one-out RBI single to Melky Cabrera in the bottom of the 11th inning as the San Francisco Giants rallied to beat the Phils, 1-0 (see Salisbury's Instant Replay)
The Phils are 5-7 and in last place in the NL East. This was clearly their most excruciating loss.
“Cliff was absolutely amazing and we didn’t help him out,” Ty Wigginton said. “He definitely deserved a W. It just didn’t work out.”
There were a lot of reasons it didn’t work out.
Wiggington was one of them. He made a killer error at third base on a potential double-play ball that may have ended the 11th inning before Cabrera came to bat.
There were other reasons the Phils lost, as well.
One of the big ones was the man who shared the pitcher’s mound with Lee. Matt Cain was equally as brilliant in pitching nine scoreless innings. He held the Phillies to just two hits, both singles.
All in all, it was a pretty lackluster final two days in the City by the Bay. The Phils went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position in losing Tuesday night’s game then had just two hits in nine innings on Wednesday. They tagged on a pair of hits in the 10th and 11th innings, but could not get a run home, even after getting a runner to third base with one out in the 11th.
Lee and Cain were both strike-throwing machines. Lee did not walk a batter in 10 innings. Cain walked just one. They sailed through the first nine innings in one hour, 50 minutes.
“It was definitely a pitcher's duel,” Lee said. “A classic pitcher's duel.
“It's the first time I've ever thrown 10 innings. It was neat. But I'd rather give up a couple runs and us get the win. But what's done is done."
Cain departed after nine, but Lee, at 89 pitches after nine, talked his way into staying on for the 10th. He tried to talk his way into staying on for the 11th, but manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee pulled him at 102 pitches – 81 of which were strikes.
The Giants had a good opportunity in the fifth inning when Brett Pill led off with a double against Lee. The left-hander responded by getting three ground-ball outs.
The Phils’ best scoring chance came in the top of the 11th. Carlos Ruiz led off with a double against Sergio Romo and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Manuel sent up left-handed-hitting Jim Thome to pinch-hit and Giants’ skipper Bruce Bochy countered with side-arming lefty Javier Lopez, the same guy who neutralized the Phillies’ left-handed bats in the 2010 NLCS.
Manuel could have pulled Thome back and gone with a right-handed bat – John Mayberry Jr. and Placido Polanco were on the bench – but he stuck with Thome, who struck out to slip to 1 for 12 (with six Ks) on the season.
Manuel then sent up Mayberry to pinch-hit for Juan Pierre and Bochy brought in right-hander Clay Hensley, who got a ground ball to end the threat.
Manuel defended his decision to use Thome.
“I thought about sending Mayberry up,” he said. “Thome is 2 for 11 off the guy with three strikeouts. That means he put the ball in play eight times. If he hits a ball, as big and strong as he is, we have a chance to score a run. Also, I figured he was definitely going to walk Mayberry. Juan Pierre hits .300 off lefties, but he still has to face a sidearm lefty. I thought Mayberry was a stronger guy who could move the ball better. That was the best chance for us to get the run.”
The Phillies’ struggles continued in the bottom of the 11th, only on defense. Bastardo allowed a one-out single then got Angel Pagan to ground to third base. Wigginton could have at least gotten the lead runner and maybe a double play hadn’t he booted the ball. The next batter, Cabrera, won it with a hit to right-center.
“Bastardo did his job and got a double-play ball,” said Wigginton, who got the start at third over the struggling Polanco.
Manuel said he thought about using Polanco as a defensive replacement, but stuck with Wigginton because he wanted his bat to stay in a tie game.
It didn’t stay tied forever.
Cliff Lee pitched one of the best games of his life and got nothing to show for it.
“It’s over now,” he said.