Hunter Pence giveth and he taketh away. Pence’s fielding error in the bottom of the 9th blew what would have been Cliff Lee first win of the season, but his walk off home run in the 9th gave the Phillies their first three game winning streak this year. It was Pence’s second homer of the game and 10th of the season.
Pence, of course, came to the Phillies from the Astros in a near deadline last season and just to add to the irony of the situation, the man who served up Pence’s walk off today? Former Phillie Brett Myers.
As great as the end was, this was really yet another frustrating game for the Phils complete with another bullpen meltdown. Cliff Lee got the start and was, as usual, brilliant allowing just 1 run over 8 innings and striking out 10. He handed a 3-1 lead to the bullpen heading into the 9th, but an awful outing by Chad Qualls combined with the Pence error meant that Lee is still yet to record a victory on the season.
In his 5 starts this year, Lee has went at least 7 innings, has a 1.95 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, .190 BAA. He even pitched 10 shutout innings in a game and yet he has no wins to show for it.
Today marked the debut of 25 year old lefty RP Jake Deikman, who looked very impressive in a 1.1 innings of work, striking out three of the 4 batters he faced. Any sign of life in this bullpen is welcome and as Deikman was hitting 96 on the gun, he probably earned himself an extended stay in the majors.
The win completes a two game sweep of the Astros. The Phillies improve to 18-19 and now sit just 4.5 games back of the NL East lead.