Lee, Phillies Face a Blast From the Not-So-Distant Past

Lee, Phillies Face a Blast From the Not-So-Distant Past

The Phillies' four game set with the Cubs continues this afternoon on Fox, as strikeout phenom Cliff Lee (5-5, 3.62) takes the hill against Chicago's Matt Garza (2-5, 4.07). After last night's 7-5 victory, the series is tied at one a piece, so the Fightins will have to win today for the chance to take the series on Sunday.

This morning's electrical storm must have been caused by the Phillies, who experienced a sudden surge of power during yesterday's W. Domonic Brown went for a two-run blast in the second inning to give Roy Halladay some breathing room, and Placido Polanco blew the game open with a grand slam in the seventh, the two home runs accounting for six of the club's seven runs.

It's a good thing too, as Jose Contreras and J.C. Romero did everything they could to give to give the game away. Contreras was charged with four earned in a 0.1 innings of relief, and Romero allowed another run while failing to record an out. All together, they gave up five runs on four hits and three walks in the eighth, before Michael Stutes came in and restored order.

Despite their "best" efforts, Doc wound up earning his Major League leading ninth win anyway, while Antonio Bastardo picked up his second save.

Lee will look to continue his winning ways today, and also try to regain the MLB lead in strikeouts over teammate Halladay, who is up to 106. The two are separated by six strikeouts, and while it's a flashy statistic that isn't necessarily important, it's becoming kind of fun to follow. Cole Hamels is also in the top ten with 91.

Cliff last faced the Cubbies while he was a member of the Seattle Mariners last June, throwing a complete game win and striking out nine, and only allowing a solo home run to Tyler Colvin. He's 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four lifetime appearances versus Chicago.

You may recall his opponent was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays during their World Series run in 2008. Garza started Game 3, allowing four runs in six innings of work for a no decision in the eventual 5-4 loss. The Phils peppered the home crowd with solo shots from Carlos Ruiz in the second, then Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back-to-back in the sixth.

The former first round pick of the Minnesota Twins rebounded in his last meeting against Philly in '09--his only other appearance versus PHI--going eight strong with one earned run in an interleague win. The 27-year-old has been up and down in his first season as a Cub. In his last outing, he was removed after just four for his fifth loss of the season, but went 1-0 and only gave up one score in his previous two starts.

Who knows what kind of offensive production we'll see against Garza, but the only Phillies to hit in that June '09 meeting were Jayson Werth, Matt Stairs, and Greg Dobbs, none of whom are on the team tonight, and this is a far different lineup from the one that mashed their way by him in the World Series. Key to the game will be which Garza, and which offense, show up today.

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade scored 22 points in a triumphant Chicago debut, Jimmy Butler had 24 and the Bulls won their season opener, beating the Boston Celtics 105-99 on Thursday night.

Wade nailed a 3 from the corner in the final minute to make it a five-point game. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the new-look Bulls got off to a winning start after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points. Avery Bradley had 16, and Jae Crowder 14 points, but the Celtics came up short after opening with a win over Brooklyn the previous night.

The Bulls remade their roster in the offseason, jettisoning one hometown superstar and welcoming another when they traded Derrick Rose to New York and signed Wade to a two-year deal worth about $47 million in a move that stunned Miami.

The three-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star is off to a good start with the Bulls after 13 seasons with the Heat.

Wade hit 4 of 6 3-pointers in this game after making just seven all of last season (see full recap).

New-look Hawks roll past Wizards
ATLANTA -- Dwight Howard dominated the boards in his Atlanta debut, Paul Millsap scored 28 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited the new-look Hawks to a 114-99 victory over the Washington Wizards in their season opener Thursday night.

Howard grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with 11 points, just what the Hawks expected from their new center, and it certainly wasn't unusual for three-time All-Star Millsap to lead the way in scoring.

But Hardaway's performance was totally unexpected given the way he struggled in his first season with the Hawks, when he was largely confined to the bench and even forced to spend time in the D-League.

He scored 21 points, matching his high in an Atlanta uniform, and broke open a close game with back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth. The Hawks, who led only 81-80 heading to the final period, outscored the Wizards 33-19 over the final 12 minutes (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty scored the tiebreaking goal in Montreal's three-goal third period as the Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 Thursday night for their sixth straight win.

Alex Galchenyuk and Torrey Mitchell also scored to help Montreal improve to 7-0-1. Carey Price made 29 saves to win for the fourth time in four starts this season.

Alex Killorn scored the lone goal for the Lightning, who lost against an Eastern-Conference opponent for the first time this season. Ben Bishop stopped 23 shots.

With the scored tied 1-1, Pacioretty got the go-ahead goal at 10:23 by beating Bishop glove-side. Blown coverage by the Lightning left the Canadiens' captain all alone on the edge of the face-off circle, and Bishop couldn't see the shot with Andrew Shaw posted firmly in front of goal.

Montreal remains the only NHL team still undefeated in regulation (see full recap).

Crosby's late goal gives Penguins win over Islanders
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Patric Hornqvist, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel also scored -- each getting his third of the season -- to help the Penguins win for the third time in four games and improve to 5-0-1 at home.

Crosby, playing for the second straight game after missing the first six with a concussion, scored with 2:25 left as he caught a pass from Scott Wilson at the top of the crease and quickly turned to his forehand to put the puck behind Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Kessel added a power-play goal to cap the scoring 32 seconds later.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 shots while starting for the eighth straight game.

Travis Hamonic and Shane Prince scored for the Islanders, and Halak finished with 31 saves (see full recap).

Streaking Red Wings win marathon shootout vs. Blues
ST. LOUIS -- Henrik Zetterberg scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Zetterberg's goal gave the Red Wings a six-game winning streak.

In the shootout, St. Louis' first shooter, Alexander Steen, scored but then Vladimir Tarasenko, Kevin Shattenkirk, David Perron, Nail Yakupoc, Robby Fabbri, Patrick Burgland and Dmitrjij Jaskin all came up short.

Gustav Nyquist scored on Detroit's second attempt but Frans Nielsen, Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheehan and Darren Helm all missed.

St. Louis had the better chances in overtime. Center Jaden Schwartz missed a wide-open net early in the extra session. Jori Lehtera was stopped on a breakaway midway through the period by Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek (see full recap).