Cliff Lee. He spurned the Yankees to come back to us. He came back even though the national media thinks we are boorish loyalists. He pitched in Philadelphia five times in 2009 and a few more times in the playoffs. We were smitten. He was traded away for some mid-level prospects much to the consternation of the Philadelphia fan-base. We were angry. Well everyone, tonight marked the return of Clifton Phifer Lee.
Lee was dominant. He went seven innings giving up four hits, three earned runs and striking out eleven. He hit one batter and walked no one. The only player that Cliff struggled with was Carlos Lee who ended the game 3-4 with a homer and four RBIs. This is the Cliff Lee that we remember from his heroics against the Yankees the last time we saw him as a Philly. Based on the reaction that Lee received when he trotted in from the bullpen, everyone in Citizens Bank Park remembers what Cliff Lee is. He is an ace.
Houston countered with left hander Wandy Rodriguez. Typically, left handed pitchers give the Phils and their lefty heavy line-up trouble. Not tonight. The Phils knocked Wandy out of the game after four innings in which he gave up nine hits and seven runs. They jumped on him in the first inning, scoring two runs on a trio of singles from Placido Polonco, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard followed by a double from Raul Ibanez.
The Philllie offense pounded out fourteen hits and nine runs with only three of them going for extra bases. All of the old timers pleading with the Phils to play station to station small ball are getting their wish. After a single laden comeback last night, the Phils singled their way to a 9-4 victory.
The star of the game was obviously Lee, but the offense made his work tonight stand up. Polonco went 3-5 with two runs scored, Rollins continues to perform well out of the three hole going 2-5 with a run scored and Ryan Howard had a strong game against a tough lefty going 2-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Raul Ibanez was the offensive star of the game going 2-3 with two walks, three runs scored and two RBIs.
Tomorrow afternoon at 1:35 P.M. former Astro Roy Oswalt takes on his former team and Bud Norris.
Shane Victorino left the game with a “tight” calf, but I am refusing to comment on it because I do not have the mental capacity to deal with any more Phils on the DL.