Lee strikes out 11 Astros in return to Philadelphia

Posted: 03/04/2011 in MLB

Phillies down Astros in Lee’s return

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Raul Ibanez and Ben Francisco each posted two hits and two RBI as Philadelphia took down Houston, 9-4, in the second of a three-game set.

Shane Victorino also drove in a pair, Placido Polanco tallied three hits and scored twice and Carlos Ruiz hit an RBI double for the Phillies, who moved to 2-0 for the second straight season.

Making his first regular-season start for Philadelphia since October 1, 2009, Cliff Lee (1-0) worked seven innings and allowed three runs on four hits while fanning 11 without walking a batter. It was his first win with the Phillies since September 15, 2009.

“I gave up the two-run homer and the triple. Basically Carlos Lee was their offense today. He had an unbelievable game, but when you have a six or seven run lead, you’re not as worried about giving up more runs and hits,” admitted Phils starter Lee.

Carlos Lee finished 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and four RBI for the Astros, who will try to avoid being swept in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.

Wandy Rodriguez (0-1) was pulled after four-plus frames and charged with nine hits and seven runs.

The Phils picked up two runs in the first on an RBI single from Howard and a run-scoring two-bagger from Ibanez.

Houston’s Lee then hit the gap in right-center — causing a slight collision between Victorino and Francisco — to score Houston’s first run in the fourth, but Philly countered in the home half with two more on Victorino’s bloop double near the line in right.

It was 7-1 for the home team in the fifth after RBI singles from Wilson Valdez and Ibanez with a run-scoring double for Francisco. Victorino was pulled as a precaution with a sore left calf prior to the top of the sixth and Lee’s two- run shot in that frame brought the Astros within 7-3.

Ruiz doubled home Ibanez in the seventh, but Lee added another RBI hit in the eighth off Danys Baez to make it 8-4.

Francisco capped the scoring with an RBI base hit in the home eighth.

“He did a lot of stuff out there to get us off our game,” said Astros manager Brad Mills of the opposition’s Lee. “Every time we adjusted to what he was throwing, he came back and re-adjusted with his cutter and kept us off- balance.”

– Steve

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