Mike Minor and Cliff Lee staged an incredible pitchers’ duel in Friday night’s 2-1 Philadelphia Phillies victory. The lefties battled in the first game of an NL East showdown from Philadelphia, but Cliff Lee was able to prevail in the end, as he was just a little bit better than Minor and the Atlanta Braves this evening. Lee pitched 8 innings of 2 hit, one run ball, and picked up his 12th win of the season this evening.'
Of course, scoring was very sparse in this game. The Braves, who went just 3-29 this evening, got a third inning home run from Andrelton Simmons, which was all the offense Cliff Lee would allow. Until the seventh inning, Minor and the Braves held a 1-0 lead, until Cody Asche cranked his fourth home run of the year with Darin Ruf on base, to put the Phillies ahead 2-1 for good.
The Phillies displayed some flashy defensive skill, as Chase Utley made a diving stop to rob Justin Upton of a hit in the sixth inning. With Jonathan Papelbon in to pitch the ninth inning for the save, Cody Asche made a phenomenal bare-handed play on what looked to be an infield single to get the first out of the inning. Papelbon would go on to register his 25th save of the year in tonight’s game.
As noted, the starting pitching in this game was very efficient on both sides. Mike Minor lasted 7 innings, allowed 4 hits, 2 runs, one walk, and struck out nine. His only major mistake was giving up the home run to Asche in the seventh inning. Lee’s stats were even better, as he lasted 8 innings, allowed just 2 hits, one run, walked none, and struck out 10. It was one of Lee’s best starts of the year, and his 12th win of the season. Lee’s ERA drops to just above 3 with tonight’s gem.
The Phillies, who are only playing for respect at this point, move to 64-77 with the win. The Braves drop to 85-55 with the loss, but still hold a 13.5 game lead in the NL East, as they continue to run away with the division. Atlanta also has the best record in all of baseball right now, and is trying to wrap up home field advantage for the playoffs.
Tomorrow night’s game features lefty rookie Alex Wood facing off against Kyle Kendrick. Wood is 3-3 with a 3.15 ERA this season, and Kendrick has struggled mightily in his last few starts, owning a 10-12 record to go with a sub-par 4.51 ERA.
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