The Phillies offense is still a little quiet, but a Ryan Howard solo home run was all Cliff Lee needed to beat his former team. John Mayberry Jr would add an insurance run, and Clifton and Ryan Madson combined for a 2-0 shutout of the Rangers.
Lee was phenomenal, notching 10 Ks against 5 hits and 2 walks. His curveball was beastly, which was key against familiar foes. Jim Salisbury reports that Lee tried to use his fastball less because his former Ranger teammates know how much he usually likes to throw it. Simple enough strategy, but it appeared to work like a spell, with flailing swings missing Lee's big hooks by a wide margin.
As if that weren't enough, Lee even stole second base after a fifth inning single.
It was uncontested by the Rangers with Wilson Valdez sitting on third, but still fun to see Lee add to his legend by swiping a bag.
The pitcher said he got a little help from the dugout, with Shane Victorino yelling for him to take second. Naturally. I can only imagine what that sounded like.
Howard's homer snapped an 0-23 skid, and he'd later add a single to finish at 2-4 on the night. Domonic Brown got the start in right and batted second. He went 0-4, but had us all on our feet with a long fly ball with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth.
Madson earned his ninth save of the season, further solidifying his stake to the closer claim no matter who comes off the DL. Doggie allowed a single, but then induced a double play and a fly out to end the night for the Phifer.
POSTGAME GLOW VIDEO
Here's Charlie and Cliff after the game, with Lee giving the nod to Shane's SB advice.
Roy Oswalt will face Matt Harrison as the Phils go for a home interleague sweep over the Rangers today at 1:35.