Substantial early leads have not translated into wins for the Phillies this season, until they beat the Mets 8-3 last night at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies blew a pair of 4-0 leads to the Royals over the weekend but Charlie Manuel’s squad, who were up 4-0 over the Mets after two innings Tuesday night, went for the jugular this time.
“Against Kansas City, we came out of the gate scoring,” third baseman Michael Young said. “But we didn’t get anything going after that. That’s something that we’re aware of. We didn’t want to take the foot off the gas [tonight].”
The Phillies crushed Mets starter Dillon Gee, who gave up back-to-back homers to first baseman Ryan Howard and Michael Young. Right fielder John Mayberry also went deep against Gee, who gave up 10 hits and seven runs in three innings.
Cliff Lee, who gave up eight hits and three runs (two earned) in 8 2/3 innings, wasn’t as sharp against the Mets as he was in his stellar debut against the Braves. But that didn’t matter since the offense was clicking.
Young, who drove in a pair, was a double short of the cycle. It’s the 29th time Young was one hit shy of the cycle, which is more uncommon than a no-hitter.
“The stars have to be aligned a bit for the cycle,” Young said. “I did it in college, I’m good.”
Young just wanted to win the game for Lee, who he bonded with when they were teammates with the Rangers in 2010.
“Cliff’s awesome,” Young said. “He’s a baseball player who pitches.”
Lee smiled when he heard Young’s description.
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Lee said. “When you’re in the National League, you feel more like a baseball player because you hit.”
Lee, who is 2-0, kept a rally going in the second inning with an RBI single.
“I enjoy hitting,” Lee said. “It’s the funnest part of baseball. But I know I’m paid to pitch.”
The Phillies need a stopper and Lee has been just that. Their starting pitching has ranged from terrible (Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels) to decent (John Lannan and Kyle Kendrick) to exceptional (Lee) and Manuel is quick to acknowledge that.
“He pitched two of our three wins,” Manuel said. “He pitched real good. Where would we be [without him]? We might be 1-7.”