An early-inning blowout turns into a tension-filled nail biter on Sunday afternoon, when the Phillies narrowly avoided disaster to take the final game of the series against the Milwaukee Brewers by a score of 7-5.
After dropping the first two games of the series in frustrating fashion, the Phillies turned to Cliff Lee to once again be the stopper to halt their three-game losing streak. The lefty was in control of the light-hitting Brewers from the get-go, and allowed just four hitters through the first six innings. He was given plenty of support by his own offense, who put up seven runs in the first two innings to stake Lee to what would prove to be an insurmountable lead.
Once again, Domonic Brown was the big hitter, and started the scoring in the first with a three-run homer - his 16th of the year. Erik Kratz followed with an RBI double two batters later, and would come around to score on Freddy Galvis' triple.
Brown followed his homer with an RBI triple in the second inning, and followed later with a single and a walk. He was a double shy of becoming the first Phillies player to hit for the cycle since David Bell in 2004.
I've talked a lot about Brown lately, and for good reason. He's absolutely crushing the ball right now, and his home run on Sunday was his ninth in his last 13 games, a span of which he is slugging over .900. While it's not likely that he keeps his streak up the rest of the way, there are few players more exciting in baseball right now.
Despite being spotted seven runs, it wasn't an easy day for the Phillies, who were in serious danger of losing the lead in the late innings. Lee cruised into the eighth, but ran into trouble when he allowed four hits and a run two score with two away in the frame. Reliever Justin De Fratus didn't fare much better, as he walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, before giving up a bases-clearing triple to Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy to cut the lead to three.
Antonio Bastardo came on to close the game in the ninth due to Jonathan Papelbon not being available due to sickness, and he promptly allowed the first two batters to reach before allowing Brewers shortstop Jeff Bianchi to get them one run closer with an RBI single. That would be the extent of the scoring for the Brewers, as Bastardo was able to get out of the inning without any further damage.
While it was nice to finish the weekend with a win, the Phillies let a great opportunity slip by to beat up on an inferior opponent and gain in the standings. Fortunately, they'll have another chance to do so on Monday, when the welcome the Miami Marlins in for a three-game set. Kyle Kendrick (5-3. 3.27) kicks off the series for the Phillies, who will be opposed by RHP Tom Koehler (0-3, 3.22).