Cliff Lee gets help from Mayberry and Valdez in Phillies win over Diamondbacks

18 Aug

By Chris Murray

After watching Roy Halladay come away with a painful loss despite pitching a masterpiece of a game the previous night, the Phillies offense made sure that Cliff Lee wouldn’t meet a similar fate.

For a team that rarely loses two straight, bouncing back from a loss has become routine.

“I think that’s just a tribute the talent we got, we expect to win every game,” Lee said. “I think anytime you got Halladay on the mound in the ninth inning with a lead you pretty much got that one won, too. It was kind of a fluke deal to lose yesterday. We expect to win every game no matter what happened yesterday. We expect to win.”

Led by the bottom of their lineup, the Phillies scored seven runs in the final two innings and came away with a 9-2 over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizen’s Bank Park.

After allowing a second-inning two-run homer by Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Lee finally settled down and kept Arizona from scoring the rest of the game. Tonight, he allowed just three hits and struck out seven before the leaving the game after the seventh inning.

“I was just erratic in the first two innings,” Lee said. “For whatever reason, I wasn’t commanding pitches. I made some mistakes walked a guy (Chris Young) right before the homerun, got 3-2 on him and threw a ball that cut back over the middle of the plate and (Goldschmidt) hit a homerun.

“After the second inning, I commanded the ball a lot of better, stayed out of the heart of the plate and they didn’t score after that.”

The Phillies opened the game with a lead-off homerun by Jimmy Rollins. It was the 37th career leadoff homerun in his career.

With the game tied at 2-2, the Phillies exploded for three runs in the seventh on an RBI double by Wilson Valdez that bounced off the 431 foot sign in center field that scored rightfielder Hunter Pence and John Mayberry Jr. Valdez scored on a sacrifice fly by Ben Francisco.

“That’s what I’m here for,” said Valdez, who was 1-for-4 with two RBI. “To help the team, get the Ws and that’s my goal every time I come on the field.

First baseman Ryan Howard said Valdez’s big hit was just the tonic their offense needed, considering how they were struggling to score runs. Diamondbacks starting pitcher Joe Saunders kept the Phillies at bay for most of the night.

“Saunders was pitching pretty well the entire night, but the way that was he pitching, I just felt that we were just one big hit or big inning from breaking it open,” Howard said. “Wilson getting that hit to center field helped break it open and everything open up even more from there.”

Another player having a good game for the Phillies was John Mayberry Jr. who had a career-high three hits in four trips. It was his RBI single in the second that tied that scored at 2-2 in the Phillies half of the second inning.

Mayberry has been taking advantage of his opportunities when he’s gotten the chance to be on the field. In his last 10 games, he is batting .318 with three homeruns and six runs batted in.

“The more playing time I’ve gotten, the more comfortable I’ve gotten,” Mayberry said. “I’ve become more accustomed to the role that I’ve had a couple of years to prepped for. I’ve gotten a few starts against lefties and I’ve been fortunate to get some hits here and there.”

Howard said that Mayberry has been a big contributor to the Phillies whenever he’s had the chance to start or come in as a pinch-hitter dating back to spring training.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he sees himself giving Mayberry more chances to play as long as he keeps swinging a hot bat.

“I plan on playing John more when the opportunity arises,” Manuel said.

“He’s been huge-both offensively and defensively,” Howard said. “Whatever he did this off-season hitting wise has definitely worked for him. It’s been a dramatic change since last year. Now he’s more relaxed being up here.”

The Phillies picked up four more runs in the eighth to close out the scoring.

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