Lee, Lester strong as Red Sox and Phils tie 2-2
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee struck out six over six innings in his next-to-last tuneup for opening day, helping the Phillies to a 2-2, 10-inning tie against the Red Sox.
Scheduled to start the March 31 opener at Texas, Lee allowed two runs, three hits and one walk – just his third in 19.2 innings during spring training. He led the major leagues last year in fewest walks per nine innings (1.3) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.94).
“Cliff was great,” Phillies Manager Ryne Sandberg said. “He had like 30 or 40 straight strikes. He didn’t throw a ball until the end of the fifth.”
Tony Gwynn Jr., competing for a spot on the Phillies bench, homered in the eighth against Brayan Villarreal. Jimmy Rollins scored the tying run later in the inning when shortstop Jonathan Herrera allowed Clete Thomas’s soft popup to fall for a single.
Red Sox starter Jon Lester gave up four hits in 5.2 scoreless innings, struck out five and walked one.
“I felt good,” he said. “I felt like I got in a rhythm a little bit earlier today than I did last time. I still don’t have too good of a feel for my breaking ball, my changeup, but that’ll come. Overthrowing a little bit on those pitches. But all in all, I was happy with the fastball command.”
Phillies: Lee walked Jonny Gomes with two outs in the sixth, then gave up a single to Will Middlebrooks and a two-run double to A.J. Pierzynski that hit off the left-field wall. It was his second straight outing against the Red Sox, following five scoreless innings in Fort Myers on March 15.
“Everything was really good until the last out,” Lee said. “I walked Gomes, threw him a couple of pitches that I thought were really close that were called balls. I felt they could’ve gone either way, then he fouled off two 3-2 pitches. I felt like he got in swing mode, so I threw a changeup low and he took it.”
Philadelphia right fielder Darin Ruf was diagnosed with a left oblique strain and is expected to be sidelined for four-to-six weeks.
Ruf entered camp as a favorite to be the team’s top right-handed hitter off the bench after hitting 14 home runs in 73 games during the second half of last season. Ruf was hurt during batting practice on Thursday in Kissimmee.