Tonight, Cliff Lee started against the St. Louis Cardinals and racked up nine strikeouts in six innings. He also gave up 11 hits, and might well lose.
That game two weeks ago was meaningless; nobody much cared that Lee gave up 11 hits (and three runs) and nobody much cared that the Phillies lost 3-0.
Tonight, they care. Gifted with a 4-0 lead after three innings, Lee and the Phillies had to like their chances. Cliff Lee doesn't often blow four-run leads, St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter was out of the game, and the Phils figured to do some damage against Tony La Russa's bullpen.
Lee gave up three runs in the fourth and another in the sixth, while the Cardinals' relievers were shutting down the Phillies. And in the top of the seventh, Allen Craig led off with a drive to deep center that Shane Victorino couldn't quite catch, the ball glancing off his glove for a triple. Albert Pujols followed with a single into left, and Craig trotted home with the lead run.
The Cardinals collected their 11th hit a moment later when Lance Berkman blooped a single into right, Pujols moving to third.
Out came Cliff Lee. In came Brad Lidge, who escaped disaster with a fielder's choice grounder, Pujols nabbed between third and home, and a double-play ball from Ryan Theriot. Still, it's been a shocking turn of events.
Cardinals 5, Phillies 4
By the way, you really have to see Craig's triple to appreciate it ...