Late Show: Pence Lights Up Giants, Lee Shuts Them Down

Late Show: Pence Lights Up Giants, Lee Shuts Them Down

There weren't a ton of offensive fireworks in San Francisco in the series opener on Thursday night, but what little there were started the game off right for the Phillies, and Cliff Lee took care of the rest. Hunter Pence homered for the first time in a Phillies uniform (and soon after showed off a new dugout handshake), and John Mayberry Jr did the same in the next at bat. Pence would later single in an unnecessary insurance run in the ninth, rewarding his growing fanbase for staying up late back on the east coast by giving the Phils a 3-0 lead they'd leave the field with.

Lee outdueled Madison Bumgarner on a night when both pitchers had some great stuff. He got into a jam in the eighth, but pitched his way out of it without letting up a run, then came out in the ninth to cap his fifth complete game shutout of the season. T-Mac pointed out that it was the first time a Phillie racked up five shutouts in a season since Steve Carlton in 1982.

As Enrico pointed out in the Handshake post, Pence has given us something to talk about in every one of his Phillies appearances so far. Personality points aside, he has also hit safely in every game, including three hits on Thursday night. Shane Victorino, batting third with Chase Utley getting a rare night off, had two singles of his own.

The game was thankfully fast-paced and didn't keep us up all night, and
more importantly, didn't send us to bed thinking about another loss to
the Giants. Is there a team you enjoy seeing the Phillies beat more than
those guys right now? Hopefully they can keep their win streak (now at
seven games) alive tomorrow night with the Vanimal facing Jonathan


  • Props all around to the defense. Some very solid baseball plays kept runners off the bags at key times for Lee.
  • Pence's homer was his 12th of the season, Mayberry's his 8th.
  • With his 0-3 night, Cliff's average has fallen to .216. When's he going to get his act together at the plate?!
  • I guess we'll let him slide since he pitched a shutout and K'd eight Giants.
  • Not a great night for Ryan Howard at the dish, with the Piece striking out twice and going 0-fer. At least he brought the leather to 1B though, coming up with some notable picks and a sliding grab.
  • Could be worse though, Cody Ross struck out four times and even chucked his bat on a third strike swinging. Seeing Lee stand him straight up on a called third strike to end the game may even have topped the bat toss...
  • With Ryan Madson on paternity leave (congrats on the birth of a baby boy, Tyler), Brad Lidge was up in the Phillies bullpen in the ninth, though he wasn't needed despite the Giants getting a man on board.
  • The Phils moved to 72-39, 8.5 games up on the idle Braves in the East. The third place Mets are 16.5 back. On August 5. The Arizona Diamondbacks were idle on Thursday, so they still sit at a half-game behind the Giants out west.

Photos by US Presswire.

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.