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Lee tosses gem, Phillies best Rockies in Game 1 of NLDS

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- One strike away from a shutout, Cliff Lee stepped off the mound, took a deep breath and allowed himself to enjoy the moment.

Quite a debut for a postseason rookie.

Lee dominated the Colorado Rockies, tossing a six-hitter, and the Philadelphia Phillies began their World Series title defense with a 5-1 victory in their playoff opener Wednesday.

Raul Ibanez had two hits and two RBI, and Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth drove in runs with key extra-base hits off 15-game winner Ubaldo Jimenez.

Lee, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, struck out five and had no walks in his first career playoff start. He retired 16 straight batters at one point until Garrett Atkins hit a wind-blown double in the seventh. Lee lost his shutout when Troy Tulowitzki doubled in a run with two outs in the ninth.

"I had him 0-2 and I stepped off and wanted to give myself a chance to absorb it all," Lee said. "Then I threw three straight balls and allowed a double in the gap. Maybe it cost me a run. Whatever, we had a five-run lead."

Game 2 of the best-of-5 NL Division Series is set for Thursday with Cole Hamels, last year's World Series and NLCS MVP, on the mound for the Phillies against Colorado's Aaron Cook.

Some questioned manager Charlie Manuel's decision to give Lee the ball over the playoff-tested Hamels for the first game. But Lee made his manager look brilliant with a masterful performance.

On a day when swirling winds made flyballs difficult to track, Lee ignored the elements and shut down the NL's second-highest scoring offense. Avoiding the adventures that come with the Phillies bullpen, Lee mixed a deceptive fastball with off-speed pitches, had pinpoint accuracy and threw 113 pitches.

 Series: Phillies 1, Rockies 0

"He was aggressive, he had good tempo and rhythm and he handled the whole flow of the game real good," Manuel said.

The hard-throwing Jimenez was equally impressive against the league's No. 1-scoring offense for four innings, but ran out of gas in the fifth. He got chased with no outs in the sixth after allowing nine hits and five runs in five-plus innings.

"Up until the fifth, it was one of the better games he had pitched over the course of the month," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He was really, really on his game into the fifth. He had all his stuff."

A sellout crowd of 46,452 -- the largest in the six-year history of Citizens Bank Park -- rocked the ballpark, waving their white-and-red "Fightin' Phils" towels. The Phillies were 7-0 at home last October and set a franchise attendance record this season.

Werth, one of five All-Stars in Philadelphia's lineup, got it started with a walk in the fifth. He scored when Ibanez ripped a double into the right-field corner. Ibanez's hit fired up the fans, who screamed "Rauuuuuuuul!" Carlos Ruiz followed with a single to right to make it 2-0.

The Phillies got insurance runs in the sixth. Chase Utley led off with a single and stole second. Howard lined a run-scoring double to left that mixed up Carlos Gonzalez, who fell backward into the wall.

Werth followed with a drive that hit high off the left-center field wall. Werth may have had a chance for an inside-the-park homer, but he trotted slowly to first before turning it on and settling for a triple after the wind kept the ball in the park.

"Had we not been dealing with the wind conditions, that ball would have been hit out of the ballpark," Tracy said.

Werth, who didn't even see Tulowitzki's ninth-inning double until it passed him, said the sun and wind made it "the toughest day I've ever seen in Philly."

Joe Beimel came in to face Ibanez after Werth's hit, and allowed an RBI single that made it 5-0.

That was plenty of support for Lee, who made sure everyone has to wait another day to see if Brad Lidge gets the chance to be Philadelphia's closer. Ryan Madson and J.A. Happ were warming up in the ninth in a non-save situation.

Just two years ago, Lee watched from the bench as the Cleveland Indians reached the ALCS. He was left off the postseason roster after a poor season in which he was demoted to the minors and relegated to the bullpen.

But he went 22-3 last year and was shipped to Philadelphia on July 29 when the cost-cutting Indians purged their roster.

"I tried to treat it as much as a regular game as I could," Lee said. "Obviously, there's more excitement with a playoff game but it's still 60 feet, 6 inches to the plate and it's the same strike zone."

Jimenez showed off his blazing fastball early. He reached 100 mph against the second batter, Shane Victorino. The 25-year-old right-hander didn't wait long to mix speeds, either. He froze Howard with an 80 mph curveball for a called third strike in the second. He got Utley on the same pitch in the fourth.

The Phillies have been on cruise control for a while, waiting to start the postseason and have a chance to be the first repeat champions since the New York Yankees won three World Series in a row from 1998-2000. Though they didn't clinch their third straight NL East title until the final week, it was never in doubt. Philadelphia moved into first place for good on May 30, and had a comfortable lead the rest of the way.

Colorado rebounded from an awful start and finished a franchise-best 92-70, including 74-42 after Jim Tracy replaced Clint Hurdle as manager on May 29.

Notes

  • The Rockies are making their third postseason appearance in the franchise's 17 years. They swept Arizona in the 2007 NLCS before getting swept by Boston in the World Series.
  • Kevin Bacon and his brother, Michael, sang the national anthem, wearing Phillies jerseys.
  • Lee singled and stole second base with two outs in the third. It was the first ever steal by a Phillies pitcher in the postseason.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Raul Ibanez records two hits and a pair of RBI during Game 1 of the NLDS in Philadelphia.  (US Presswire)
Raul Ibanez records two hits and a pair of RBI during Game 1 of the NLDS in Philadelphia. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

C. Lee
IP 9.0
H 6
ER 1
BB 0
K 5
Philadelphia

J. Werth
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Colorado Rockies
Dexter Fowler, CF4000000 .000
Carlos Gonzalez, LF4120000 .500
Todd Helton, 1B4000001 .000
Troy Tulowitzki, SS4021000 .500
Garrett Atkins, 3B4010023 .250
Yorvit Torrealba, C3010001 .333
Brad Hawpe, RF3000011 .000
Clint Barmes, 2B3000001 .000
Ubaldo Jimenez, P2000020 .000
    Joe Beimel, P0000000 .000
    Matt Daley, P0000000 .000
    Franklin Morales, P0000000 .000
   a- Ryan Spilborghs, PH1000000 .000
    Jason Marquis, P0000000 .000
Totals3216105  
a-grounded out for Morales in the 8th
Batting
2B - Troy Tulowitzki (1, Lee), Garrett Atkins (1, Lee), Yorvit Torrealba (1, Lee)
RBI - Troy Tulowitzki (1)
2-OUT RBI - Troy Tulowitzki (1)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Tulowitzki-Barmes-Helton, Helton-Atkins
E - Brad Hawpe (1, Misplayed grounder)
Colorado Rockies
Ubaldo Jimenez (L,0-1) 5955140 9.00
Joe Beimel0100000 0.00
Matt Daley 1100100 0.00
Franklin Morales 1000000 0.00
Jason Marquis 1100000 0.00
WP - Matt Daley (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Ubaldo Jimenez 91-55, Joe Beimel 2-1, Matt Daley 16-10, Franklin Morales 10-6, Jason Marquis 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ubaldo Jimenez 6-3, Matt Daley 2-1, Jason Marquis 3-0
Batters Faced - Ubaldo Jimenez 23, Joe Beimel 1, Matt Daley 5, Franklin Morales 2, Jason Marquis 4
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4010013 .250
Shane Victorino, CF4010002 .250
Chase Utley, 2B4110021 .250
Ryan Howard, 1B4121011 .500
Jayson Werth, RF3221100 .667
Raul Ibanez, LF4122001 .500
Pedro Feliz, 3B4010002 .250
Carlos Ruiz, C3011101 .333
Cliff Lee, P2010000 .500
Totals32512524  
Batting
2B - Shane Victorino (1, Daley), Ryan Howard (1, Jimenez), Raul Ibanez (1, Jimenez)
3B - Jayson Werth (1, Jimenez)
SH - Cliff Lee (1)
RBI - Ryan Howard (1), Jayson Werth (1), Raul Ibanez 2 (2), Carlos Ruiz (1)
SB - Shane Victorino (1, 3rd base off Morales/Torrealba), Chase Utley (1, 2nd base off Jimenez/Torrealba), Cliff Lee (1, 2nd base off Jimenez/Torrealba)
CS - Ryan Howard (1, 2nd base by Jimenez/Torrealba)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jayson Werth 1
DP - Werth-Feliz
Philadelphia Phillies
Cliff Lee (W,1-0) 9611050 1.00
WP - Cliff Lee (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 113-79
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 8-13
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 32
Game Information
Attendance - 46452
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Gerry Davis, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Ron Kulpa