Indians tear into another Phillies ace in 6-0 win

Cliff Lee confers with catcher Carlos Ruiz in the third inning, when the Indians scored three times. Pitching against his former team, Lee allowed five runs in six innings.
Cliff Lee confers with catcher Carlos Ruiz in the third inning, when the Indians scored three times. Pitching against his former team, Lee allowed five runs in six innings. (TONY DEJAK /AP)
Posted: May 03, 2013

CLEVELAND - Cliff Lee arrived for the first time as a visiting player in the city where he forged one of the best lefthanded arms in the game. He gazed at an empty Progressive Field, a building he had not seen in four years, since the Indians dealt him to Philadelphia, and shrugged.

"I was expecting it to be different," Lee said, "but it looks a lot the same."

That drum in the left-field bleachers was still there. A man pounded it and pounded it Wednesday night during the early innings of a 6-0 Phillies defeat. Whenever the Indians put runners on base he struck - boom, boom, boom - and the sparse crowd clapped in unison.

That was the sound of another lost night for the Phillies. Another former Cy Young winner floundered. Their maddening offense stranded runner after runner. Cleveland was a last-place team when this series began and, over two days, never acted the part.

"They crushed us both games," Lee said. "It was never really close, either one of them. We have to have a little more pride than that and figure out a way to at least get back into games and make it somewhat competitive."

The Phillies are 5-13 in games started by three pitchers - Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Halladay - who will make $67.5 million in 2013. They are 5-14 against teams not named Mets or Marlins. Both games in Cleveland were decided by the fourth inning.

"They took it to us pretty good," manager Charlie Manuel said.

Trevor Bauer, the Indians pitching prospect with a quirky style, walked six batters in five innings. The Phillies drew a leadoff walk in four of his five innings. They failed to score each time. Manuel labeled him "effectively wild."

They had Bauer teetering in the fifth. He issued back-to-back walks to the eighth and ninth hitters, Laynce Nix and Ben Revere. Cleveland's pitching coach, Mickey Callaway, sauntered to the mound to calm the 22-year-old. Bauer retired Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young, and Chase Utley on 11 pitches to escape.

Bauer, acquired in a three-team trade this past winter, threw 93 pitches, and only 50 were strikes. His command wavered; his stuff was electric. He threw between 77 and 95 m.p.h. and used four pitches to keep the Phillies off balance. They mustered one hit against him, a Domonic Brown single.

"It was kind of tough to really get locked in on one certain pitch," Young said. "There were no patterns."

When the game ended - boom, boom, boom - the Phillies were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Cleveland outscored them, 20-2, in the two games.

Young stranded five runners and grounded into another double play. He has four extra-base hits and has hit into seven double plays in 2013. Carlos Ruiz struck out three times and stranded four runners.

The pitching staff must shoulder blame, too. The Phillies' 4.47 ERA entering Wednesday was 14th in the National League. Cleveland smashed seven homers Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Indians had seven infield hits.

Lee had opposed every team in baseball except Cleveland. He pitched here for eight seasons, until the Indians could no longer afford him.

They jumped him for three runs in the third.

"It was a weird inning," he said. The Indians slapped three infield hits. Asdrubal Cabrera, one of the few Indians who played with Lee, stroked a two-run double to left.

"You have to give them credit," Lee said. "It was their night."

When the runners stopped and an insurmountable deficit was dug, Lee looked skyward. There was that sound again - boom, boom, boom - the sound of two forgettable nights in Ohio.

Contact Matt Gelb at Follow on Twitter @magelb.

comments powered by Disqus