As the Phils’ bats wake up, Cliff Lee pitched seven strong innings, as the Phils beat the Astros, 9-4.

As the Phils’ offense decides to give Cliff Lee some runs support, Lee responds with seven strong innings as he struck out eleven Astros, as the Phils defeat the Astros, 9-4, as they start the season off with a 2-0 record.

The Phils continued from where they had left off yesterday by taking a quick lead in their half of the first inning as, with two men on, and with one man out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI single, scoring Placido Polanco, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second base on Jimmy Rollins’ single, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, while sending Rollins, who had just singled, on to third base. The Phils then made it a 2-0 lead as, now with runners on the corner, and now with two men out, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI double, knocking in Rollins, while sending Howard on to third base. The Astros would cut the Phils’ lead down to 2-1 in the fourth as, with one man on, and with one man out, Carlos Lee hits an RBI triple, knocking in Angel Sanchez, who had earlier singled. The Phils would increase their lead in their half of the fourth as, with two men on, and with two men out, Shane Victorino would hit a two-run single, knocking in Ibanez, who had earlier walked, moved to second base when Carlos Ruiz was hit by the pitch, before moving up to third on Cliff Lee’s sacrifice bunt, 2-4, and Ruiz, who had been hit by the pitch, then went to second base on Cl. Lee’s sac bunt, giving the Phils a 4-1 lead. The Phils then added to their lead in the fifth as, with a runner on first, and with nobody out, Ben Francisco hits an RBI double, scoring Ryan Howard, who had earlier lead-off the inning with a single, giving the Phils a 5-1 lead. The Phils then made it a 6-1 lead as Ibanez hits an RBI single, scoring Francisco. Two batters later, with Ibanez now on second base, after moving there on Ruiz’s ground out, 5-3, and with one man out, Wilson Valdez hits an RBI single, scoring Ibanez, giving the Phils a 7-1 lead. The Astros would cut the Phils’ lead down to 7-3 in the sixth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Car. Lee hits a two-run home run, his first home run of the year, knocking in Sanchez, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second base on Hunter Pence’s soft ground out, 4-3. The Phils would get one of the runs back in the seventh as, with one man on, and with no one out, Ruiz hits an RBI double, knocking in Ibanez, who had started the inning off with a walk, giving the Phils an 8-3 lead. The Astros made it an 8-4 Phils’ lead in the eighth as, with two men on, and with two men out, Car. Lee hits an RBI single, scoring Sanchez, who had earlier been safe at first on a Polanco throwing error, then moved up to second base on Pence’s single, while sending Pence, who had just singled, up to third base. The Phils would get the run back in their half of the eighth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Francisco hits an RBI single, scoring Polanco, who had started the inning off with a single, then went to second on Rollins’ ground out, 1-3, giving the Phils a 9-4 lead. That would be the final score as Jose Contreras would shut down the Astros in the ninth inning, striking out the last two batters.

Cliff Lee (1-0, 3.86) gets the win as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up three runs on four hits, while he struck out eleven. Danys Baez pitched an inning, giving up an unearned run on two hits, while he struck out one batter. Jose Contreras pitched a scoreless ninth as he gave up two hits, while he struck out two. Wandy Rodriguez took the lost (0-1, 15.75), as he pitched four innings plus three batters, giving up seven runs on nine hits and a walk, while he struck out five. Enerio Del Rosario and Mark Melancon combined for two scoreless innings, giving up two hits (one each), while he struck out three batters (Del Rosario (1), Melancon (2)) between them. Aneury Rodriguez, who was making his major league debut, pitched an inning, giving up a run on a hit and a walk. Jeff Fulchino also pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits, while he struck out a batter.

The Phils had fourteen hits in the game, with all of the regulars getting at least one hit, with Placido Polanco leading the team with three hits (singles) as he raised his average to .375. Jimmy Rollins (Singles), Ryan Howard (Singles, RBI), Ben Francisco (Single, Double, 2 RBIs) and Raul Ibanez (Single, Double, 2 RBIs), all followed with two hits each. Shane Victorino (Single, 2 RBIs), Carlos Ruiz (Double, RBI) and Wilson Valdez (Single, RBI) had the other three Phils’ hits.

The Phils (2-0, 1st NL East) will conclude their three games series with the Astros (0-2, T-4th NL Central) with an afternoon game tomorrow at Citizens Bank Park. The game will begin at 1:35 pm EDT. The Phils will start Roy Oswalt (0-0, 0.00), who went a combine 13-13 with a 2.76 ERA for both the Astros and the Phils last year. He will be trying to give the Phils an opening series sweep. The Astros will try to counter with Bud Norris (0-0, 0.00), who is coming off a 9-10 season, with a 4.92 ERA. He will be trying to give the Astros their first win of the season.

In other news, Shane Victroino was taken out of the game, and replaced with John Mayberry, Jr. in the fifth inning with a sore left calf. It is hoped that he won’t be out for any amount of time.

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