That’s when the cramps set in for Lee. Frayed nerves, compliments of a shorthanded bullpen, were not far behind.
“I started cramping in … my arms, my hips, my hamstrings,” Lee said after he couldn’t get through the eighth inning. “I guess I was a little dehydrated. Something. I don’t know what the deal was. It’s happened in Texas. Obviously the heat is a part of it. I tried to do everything I could to hydrate [Saturday] and [Sunday] and it didn’t seem to matter. It still happened.”
Lee, 7-2, gave up four singles in the eighth after giving up just three hits before that. He left with two outs and a 7-1 lead. Setup man Mike Adams was not available after pitching in three of the previous four days.
Justin De Fratus got the call and promptly walked the first batter he faced, pinch-hitter Aramis Ramirez, to load the bases. Jonathan Lucroy, who had gone 7 for 9 with three home runs in the first two games of the series, followed with a line drive down the left-field line that was initially ruled a grand slam by third-base umpire Tom Hallion.
Lee, still in the dugout, was visibly frustrated.
“Yeah, it was a little bit frustrating,” he said. “But what can you do? I wanted to stay in there and keep pitching, but at the same time I wanted to be smart and use my head a little bit.”
Manager Charlie Manuel asked Hallion, the crew chief, to review the replay of Lucroy’s ball.
“I had thought it hit the back green, but it hit the top of that fence and kicked right,” Hallion said through a pool reporter.
It was ruled a three-run triple based on where the umpires thought Lucroy would have ended up.
As the Phillies went down in the order in the eighth, it became apparent that closer Jonathan Papelbon also was not going to be available even though De Fratus had pitched the game into a save opportunity.
“He’s very sick today,” Manuel said. “He was kind of feeling that yesterday.”
An entire ballpark started to feel sick in the ninth with Antonio Bastardo on the mound.
Alex Gonzalez singled and Rickie Weeks walked to open the inning. Jeff Bianchi singled to left and Gonzalez scored, trimming the Phillies’ lead to two runs with two men on base and nobody out.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee went to the mound with instructions on how to pitch pinch-hitter Jean Segura, who carried a .352 average and 21 extra-base hits to the plate.
Bastardo got Segura to ground out to first, but that left runners on second and third with only one out. The Phillies reliever sandwiched an intentional walk around shallow pop flies by Norichika Aoki and pinch-hitter Martin Maldonado to end the game.
Jimmy Rollins did not speak after the game, but his stillness at shortstop as Maldonado’s game-ending pop up came to rest in Ben Revere’s glove spoke volumes about how exhausting the last two innings had been for the Phillies.
Rollins talked his way into the lineup after sitting out Saturday with a sore right foot. He had erased the initial lineup being posted in the clubhouse by catching coach Mick Billmeyer. Manuel had waited to see if Ryan Howard’s aching left knee was all right before filling out his lineup card late Sunday morning.
Those two played a huge role in the first, with Rollins lining a two-out double off righthander Mike Fiers and Howard following with a walk before offering some words of encouragement to Brown.
“He’s always like that man,” Brown said. “Ryan is always tipping his hat to me. It’s a good feeling to just go out there and have the guys have confidence in you. He’s always had it.”
Brown delivered a three-run home run into the right-field seats and the Phillies were on their way to a victory that went from easy to arduous during the final two innings.