Fast Facts And Reax: Phillies Sweep Nationals
The Phillies (61-67) finished something with Saturday's 4-1 winner over the Nationals (77-50), something that had only been done three times before. They swept the best team in baseball.
They've had win streaks, even ones like this four-game ride they're working now. Four times, actually.
But never of this importance.
Heading down the final stretch, and into back-to-back series with the Mets (confidence boosters) and Braves (Wild Card boosters), the Phils are but nine games removed from October.
Once again, baseball is worth watching in Philadelphia.
Cliff Lee, Home Winner
Bet you genuinely wondered whether you'd hear that this season. Maybe even wondered whether Lee wondered himself.
But the questions stop Sunday, after Lee (3-7, 3.67 ERA) went seven strong and allowed just one run on seven hits. He also had five strikeouts, to pad that gaudy strikeout-to-walk ratio he's working this month.
Lee caught a bit of a break in the sixth. Adam La Roche crushed a ball to right center that ended up crashing off the railing and back into play.
La Roche figured it gone, and started a slow trot around second -- only to find Jayson Werth staring him in the face, and Phillies on both sides of him for a rundown he wasn't going to win. Tyler Moore drove in Werth four pitches later.
Three inches further, and that 330-footer would've been the start of a three-run inning, maybe more. But it wasn't.
Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run bomb in the fifth, his 15th on the year. Only Ian Desmond (19) and J.J. Hardy (17) have more as shortstops this season.
That gave the Phillies a 3-0 lead. The scoring started on an RBI double from Lee.
I did this last night, and it would be awfully convenient to find a connection between Rollins Thursday benching and performance since, now 6-for-12 with a home run and 5 RBIs.
But what else could it be?
Jeremy Horst took over in the eighth and faced only two batters, getting Danny Espinosa to ground out on one. Sunday was the third straight day he was used, all with the same, scoreless result.
On the month, Horst has allowed just one run in 8.1 innings over nine appearances.
Josh Lindbolm tapped out Horst in the eighth, getting a groundout before ringing up Ryan Zimmerman.
He struck out Jayson Werth to start the ninth, en route to his first save of the season.
Lindbolm still has that walk-off grand slam blemishing his recent track record. But he's been scoreless in his last three, even if he didn't get an out last night.
After Sunday's six outs, Phillie relievers haven't allowed a run in four games.