video thumbnail

PHI@SF: Lee strikes out seven over 10 scoreless

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cliff Lee's teammates expressed their frustrations and condolences Wednesday at AT&T Park.

He deserved a better fate.

He pitched 10 scoreless innings in a 1-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants in 11 innings. Lee became the first pitcher to pitch 10 innings in a game since Aaron Harang and Roy Halladay in 2007, the first pitcher to pitch 10 scoreless innings since Mark Mulder in 2005 and the first Phillies pitcher to pitch 10 innings since Terry Mulholland in 1993.

But Lee also became the first pitcher to pitch 10 scoreless innings in a losing effort since Bret Saberhagen's Mets lost to San Diego in 1994.

"He battled," Jim Thome said about Lee. "He battled."

Thome sighed deeply before finishing his thought.

"Unfortunately we couldn't help him out," he said.

Lee allowed seven hits and struck out seven in 10 innings. He threw just 102 pitches with a remarkable 81 pitches for strikes. He had his four pitches working, particularly his changeup and curveball, which he acknowledged he rarely has working so well in unison in the same game. But Giants right-hander Matt Cain proved equally as dominant, allowing just two hits, one walk and striking out four in nine scoreless innings.

Lee and Cain pitched so effectively and efficiently the teams played nine innings in just one hour, 50 minutes.

They played the entire game in 2:27.

"A classic pitchers' duel," said Lee, who held true to form and showed no signs of frustrations at a lack of run support. "It was the first time I've ever thrown 10 innings. It was neat. But I'd rather give up a couple runs and get the win. But what's done is done."

The Phillies had a chance to take the lead in the 11th. Carlos Ruiz hit a leadoff double against Giants right-hander Sergio Romo. Freddy Galvis bunted Ruiz to third to put the go-ahead run on third base with one out.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel sent Jim Thome to the plate to pinch-hit for Lee, but the Giants countered by pulling Romo for left-hander Javier Lopez. It made perfect sense for the Giants. Thome was just 2-for-11 in his career against Lopez.

Manuel could have replaced Thome with one of his two right-handed hitters on the bench: John Mayberry Jr. or Placido Polanco. But he stuck with Thome, who fouled off a first-pitch slider before striking out four pitches later.

Manuel explained his decision to stick with the lefty vs. lefty matchup.

"I thought about sending Mayberry up to hit," 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."

"The main priority right there is really to put the ball in play," said Thome, who regretted not putting that first-pitch slider in play. "I didn't do it. I didn't do it."

Manuel then had Mayberry pinch-hit for Juan Pierre. He grounded out to end the inning.

Left-hander Antonio Bastardo started the 11th. Brandon Belt singled and Angel Pagan followed with a ground ball to the left of Phillies third baseman Ty Wigginton. But the ball hit the heel of Wigginton's glove and bounced out.

By the time Wigginton picked up the ball, he had no play. So instead of an inning-ending double play, the Giants had runners on first and second with one out. Melky Cabrera followed with a single to right-center field to score the winning run.

"Bastardo did his job and got a double-play ball," Wigginton said.

Manuel said he considered replacing Wigginton with Polanco an inning earlier because Polanco is superior defensively, but he said he stayed with Wigginton because "he's a strong guy and he might hit a double."

Lee's night was wasted. He pitched beautifully, but he had nothing to show for it.

"That was a tough game," Manuel said. "Both guys of course did real well. Cliff was absolutely tremendous. He didn't want to come out of the game and I didn't want to take him out. But it got to a point where we figured we had to. It was a heck of a game."

Lee said Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee actually told him that he was finished pitching after nine innings, but he successfully lobbied to go on.

"I told them I could keep pitching easy so he said, 'Let me go talk to Charlie,' and they decided to let me go back out there," he said. "Before the 11th, I tried it again but nothing happened.

"Every time I pitch I want to get as deep into the game as I can and put up as many zeros as I can. I was able to do that for 10 innings today. It was really no different than any other game. That's what I'm trying to do every time. I was able to put it all together and they hit balls to our defense. I was able to get out of a couple jams."

He paused briefly.

"It's ... it's over now," he said.

Cain also would have started the 10th inning, except his spot in the order came up in the bottom of the ninth inning.

"That was really fun to be a part of," Cain said. "That was nonstop, back and forth."

"This one, tonight, is one I'll remember," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It doesn't get any better than what we saw tonight."

It was a perfect night for the Giants. For the Phillies it was just another night of frustration. The Phillies dropped to 5-7 and find themselves in sole possession of last place in the National League East. They have not been in last place this late in the season since April 20, 2007.

"You get a pitcher up there that's throwing the way he was tonight, you want to do everything he can to get the guy a 'W,'" Wigginton said. "He definitely deserved a 'W.'"

MLB.com Comments