Phillies offense, Lee lead squad to series win

Cliff Lee will seek his third win of the year when he starts the series opener Monday night. Credit: Getty Images
Cliff Lee finally got adequate run support in the Phillies’ 8-3 win over the Reds Sunday. Credit: Getty Images

During much of the first half of May, the Phillies offense was as lifeless as well, Charlie Manuel’s 2013 squad.

Prior to Saturday, the Phillies hit just three home runs in ten games, which they went 2-8.

Well, things have turned around quickly. The home run drought is over. The Phillies hit four homers against the Reds in route to a 8-3 drubbing of Cincinnati and a series victory.

The Phillies kicked off the game with back to back homers as Jimmy Rollins, who is delivering in the leadoff spot, and Wil Nieves each went deep.

It was the first time the Phillies went back to back to start a game since Rollins and Placido Polanco homered against the Braves in September of 2004.

The smoldering Cody Asche, who is hitting .333 with a 1.043 OPS in May, also homered.

“Good at-bats are contagious,” Asche said. “You can see it up and down the lineup. You saw that the last two days. Guys are putting really good at-bats together.”

After suffering through a rough patch, Ryne Sandberg believed his team was ready to turn it around.

“I thought we were due,” Sandberg said. “It was good to see us come alive during the last couple of games.”

After giving up a pair of runs in a shaky first inning, Cliff Lee settled down and dominated the Reds. Lee, who threw 81 strikes, pounded the plate for six and two-thirds innings and evened his record at 4-4, courtesy of an unusual amount of support.

“It was definitely not the way I want to start a game,” Lee said. “Fortunately we came back and hit two homers to tie it back up. It was big of our offense to pick me up right there. Once we regained the lead, we never lost it.”

Expect the top of the lineup, Rollins, Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley, to stay the same for the time being, even when Revere is ready for action Tuesday in Miami. “It seems to be working right now,” Sandberg said.

After last week’s absence of offense, who would have ever thought that Sandberg would utter such a phrase after Sunday’s game?

Phillies notes

Rollins has 46 homers to start a game, the fourth most leadoff home runs in major league history. J-Roll’s hero Rickey Henderson leads the pack with a whopping 81 leadoff blasts.

Considering how poorly the Phillies have played the last two weeks, it’s a minor miracle the team is just three-and-a half-games behind the division leading Braves. The news took Dom Brown by surprise.

“I thought we were five games out,” Brown said. “That’s good that we’re closer than I thought. We can make that ground up.”



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