Domonic Brown reaches back to touch home plate after plowing through Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis in the Phillies' 12-2 win. (USA Today Images)
One day after he said the Phillies got their "ass whooped" by the Nationals, Domonic Brown decided to open up a can himself.
Actually, the entire team did in a 12-2 trouncing of the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night (see Instant Replay).
In his fourth game and second start after a two-week absence spent nursing a sore Achilles tendon, Brown went 1 for 4 against the Marlins with a walk and two runs scored.
Crossing home plate was a little easier the second time than the first.
In the sixth, he jogged across after Darin Ruf went yard to left. Not a lot of obstacles there.
But three innings earlier, he had to clear Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis out of the way.
“I didn’t know if he dropped the ball," Brown said. "I just saw him on the plate and had to make a quick decision.”
Mathis did drop the ball, and it was because of Brown's decision to truck him.
After reaching base on a single and advancing to second on a walk drawn by Ruf, Brown took off on a Cody Asche single up the middle, rounded third, charged down the line, and ran over Mathis, arriving at almost the exact same time as the ball.
Brown (6-5, 205) was actually offered a football scholarship by four college programs -- Miami, Florida State, N.C. State, South Florida -- before he was drafted in the 20th round by the Phillies in 2006.
Brown described the exchange between himself and Phillies trainer Scott Sheridan immediately following the collision:
“He said, ‘I thought you were being recruited as a receiver.’ I said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to block, too.’”
While Brown was toppling the catcher, starting pitcher Cliff Lee was mowing down the Marlins' lineup -- and pitching staff (see story).
In eight innings of work, Lee struck out a season-high 14 batters, and became the first Phillies pitcher to record three hits and four RBIs in a game since Phil Collins -- not of Genesis fame -- in 1930.
Brown and Lee both hit balls to deep parts of the park that on other, warmer nights might have gone out. Brown crushed one dead center in the eighth that somehow stayed in the yard, and Lee's first-career triple in the fifth ended up at the wall in right-center.
“He hit it good. He might have a little more pop than myself," Brown said, laughing. "He hit it pretty good. That’s what he’s capable of. He’s a great athlete. He got a great pitch to handle and squared it up.
"He set the tone today. He’s quick, works fast, you’re on your toes on defense, and it helps tremendously defensively. All you have to worry about is your hitting. He makes it easy for us."
Neither of them made it easy on Mathis, who represented three of Lee's 14 strikeouts.