"Cacklin'" Cliff Lee jogged out to the mound and the Nationals unfroze Stephen Strasburg, fed him his bottle, and let him get acclimated to consciousness; and the The Battle of the Two Good Pitchers was on.
The Phillies' offense struck uncharacteristically early (though characteristically once), as with two outs in the first, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard plucked singles out of Strasburg's repertoire. Marlon Byrd hit a foul ball to Jayson Werth, who lost it in his beard and failed to get the Nationals out of the inning.
Werth missed the next ball, too, as it soared over his beard and into the stands to put the Phillies up 3-0.
Cliff gave up a home run to Tyler Moore in the third to open the losing. Neither team could string together enough offense to do damage until the Nationals' go in the fifth, when Tyler Moore, the world's only living Cliff Lee-survivor, singled and Jose Lobaton reached on a Chase Utley error.
Denard Span came next, and set up a lawn chair in the batter's box, while sipping lemonade through a crazy straw and sighing obnoxiously after each slurp. Cliff Lee ruined Span's "me time" with an inside pitch, and Span became irritated after he spilled lemonade on his nice clean uniform.
Cliff Lee responded with a trademark cackle, then got Span to ground out, but allowing Moore to score. Span jogged past the mound, and he and Lee exchanged words. The dugouts emptied, the bullpens emptied, and Cliff Lee laughed and laughed.
Thankfully, a breakdown of the incident is available via that Nationals broadcast team, a crew known for their intelligence and objectivity.
F.P. Santangelo: Here come some more players out of the Phillies clubhouse who are late to the party.
Bob Carpenter: *insane chuckling* I just saw three guys come out and I'm like, "Where were they?!"
The Nats announcers concluded that Cliff Lee must have said something to Denard Span - probably something racial or sexually graphic or adulterous, as Cliff Lee is known to be - and Denard Span, god bless his heart, merely turned around because he didn't hear Lee and was always taught to respect his elders. What a kind young man.
The inning ended without any bloodletting, but the Phillies offense was again smothered before the Phillies bullpen escaped from quarantine.
Mike Adams sparked the Nationals' next rally, as Denard Span doubled and stole third to lead off the eighth. Anthony Rendon singled him home, tying the game, and Werth knocked a follow-up single.
Adams, logging no outs, gave way to Jake Diekman, who
Adam LaRoche singled, knocking in Rendon; Ian Desmond doubled, scoring Werth, and quickly, it was 5-3. All in all, the Nationals sent a five man carousel around the Phillies' bullpen until they finally retired an out.
Meanwhile, Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo licked each other like cats.
Washington's lead-off hitters were 6-for-9, with a home run, a walk, a double, and three singles. At this point, the facts just got even funner:
- When the Nats score more than four runs, they are 13-1.
- The Phillies entered tonight's game with an ERA past the seventh inning of 5.01.
- The Phillies starters are winless at home in 2014.
But the Phillies weren't done! Jimmy Rollins drew a walk to start off the bottom of the eighth, and Chase Utley followed him with a single. Ryan Howard, Marlon Byrd, and Domonic Brown followed with three rally strikeouts, the effectiveness of which were questionable. Byrd and Brown shared six Tyler Clippard offerings among their at-bats. At this point, the Phillies were done.
What anomalies came down on the Phillies in their final at-bat? Carlos Ruiz drew a walk that was quickly erased by an interference call that turned Cody Asche's subsequent grounder into a double play. Freddy Galvis was sent out to end the game, and did so with a tremendously unsatisfying pop out.