Braves 6, Phillies 3
Game 7 - Friday Night, April 8th in Atlanta
One Sentence Summary: The Braves got to Cliff Lee, knocking him out in the fourth and tagging him for six runs as the Phillies lost in Atlanta.
What It Means: Lee had his worst start since September 4, 2009 (against the Astros) when he surrendered six runs in three innings of work. Tonight, he allowed six runs on ten hits, a walk and a hit batter in 3 1/3 innings. The Phillies fall to 5-2, maintaining a one-game lead over the Marlins in the N.L. East.
What Went Wrong: The Braves offense jumped on Lee's pitches early as the lefty suffered from a lack of command tonight. Two key at-bats doomed the Phillies. First, Shane Victorino should have caught the ball hit by Chipper Jones in the fourth that resulted in a bases-clearing double, breaking a 3-3 tie. Second, with the bases loaded and one out, slugger Ryan Howard bounced weakly back to pitcher Tim Hudson, resulting in a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.
What Went Right: The long relievers at least looked good. Kyle Kendrick wriggled out of trouble following Lee's departure, stranding two Braves base runners in the fourth. Antonio Bastardo struck out six straight Braves in his two innings of work, tying a franchise record for consecutive strikeouts by a reliever. Jack Meyer (1958) and Willie Hernandez (1983) had both previously performed the feat.
Featured Card: Victorino will probably be the first guy to tell you he should have caught Chipper's ball. This 2010 Chachi Highlight card celebrates the Flyin' Hawaiian's defense in an attempt to cleanse the palette following the botched play in tonight's game. Ironically, the photo I used for this card is from a game against the Braves last year in which Victorino made a spectacular, leaping catch to take away a Troy Glaus home run.
Other Stuff: Chipper collected his 2,500th career hit in the sixth inning off Bastardo . . . Cool piece of trivia from Todd Zolecki's blog - "[Wilson] Valdez went 4 for 4 with three runs scored in yesterday's 11-0 victory over the Mets. He is the first No. 8 hitter to have four or more hits and score three or more runs for the Phillies since Steve Lake on June 30, 1991, against the Mets."