Cliff Lee was the man Thursday night in D.C.
Stop me if you've heard this one, but the Phillies won a baseball game, thanks largely to the efforts of a broken bat bloop, a backup second baseman, and a pitcher typically reserved for spot starts and garbage innings.
It wasn't the most conventional of wins for the Phillies, who downed the Florida Marlins, 5-3, on Wednesday night, but there isn't a lot of convention to a team that is missing a good portion of their lineup and bullpen thanks to a myriad of injuries.
After losing the middle game of the series on Tuesday night - a contest in which Roy Halladay walked the pitcher (who would later score) and Jimmy Rollins committed an eighth inning error (that would result in the go-ahead run for the Marlins) – the Phillies needed to get back to their winning ways against the second place Fish.
But they would need to score some runs behind Cliff Lee, who has been on the short end of run support in the past few starts.
They had their work cut out for them against right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who was following up Josh Johnson's start from Tuesday night with a gem of his own. He was given a run to work with in the first inning, thanks to a solo homer from Hanley Ramirez that gave the Marlins the lead in the early goings.
Cliff Lee, meanwhile, was very Cliff Lee-like insomuch as he didn't walk anyone, threw strikes and made quick work of the Fish after allowing the first inning homer. That would change in the bottom of the sixth, when the Marlins strung together four hits, followed by a sacrifice fly, that netted them two runs on the inning to give them a 3-0 lead heading into the seventh.
And given the way the Phils have been swinging the bats, those three runs might as well have been a baker's dozen.
But it was not the case, as the Phillies but two on the board in the top of the seventh, thanks to an RBI double from Pete Orr that scored Raul Ibanez, followed by an RBI groundout from Ross Gload to get the Phillies to within a run.
After J.C. Romero set down the Marlins in order in the bottom half of the inning, Shane Victorino evened things up at three apiece with a solo shot of his own to lead off the eighth, but it would be the unlikeliest of Phillies that made the difference the rest of the way.
In the bottom of the inning, Kyle Kendrick was charged with keeping it a tie game. Not exactly known for his shutdown stuff or ability to make things difficult for an opposing lineup, Kendrick kept the Marlins off the board despite walking the leadoff hitter and allowing a hit.
His good fortune obviously carried over to the bats, because it was Dane Sardinha, in the game thanks to an injury to Brian Schneider earlier in the contest, blooped a one-out single into center, and moved to third on Pete Orr's second double of the night.
With one out, John Mayberry struck out, but Jimmy Rollins picked him up with a single to right that scored both Sardinha and Orr to give the Phillies the two-run lead before handing the ball over to Ryan Madson, who struck out two to earn his second save in the series.
All told, it was a weird win for the Phillies. Cliff Lee pitched well, but only went six innings. Kyle Kendrick threw four of his 12 pitches for strikes and got the win, and Pete Orr had two of the biggest hits of the game.
After an off day on Thursday, the Phillies head to Atlanta for a three game set with the Braves, where Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, and Roy Halladay are slated to start.
Hamels (4-2, 2.83 ERA) starts things off on Friday night opposite Brandon Beachy (1-1, 2.98).