Browns backs Lee as Phillies beat Brewers 7-5
PHILADELPHIA Phillies starter Cliff Lee experienced cramps and closer Jonathan Papelbon was too sick to pitch. Fortunately, there's nothing wrong with Domonic Brown.
Brown continued his recent surge with a homer, triple and four RBIs to back up the effective pitching of Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies held on for a 7-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
Brown also singled and had a chance for the cycle when he came up in the seventh, but walked. He had three homers and eight RBIs against the Brewers in the weekend series.
"I'm just trying to keep it going, continue to improve, keep my stroke small and not try to do too much," Brown said.
Brown said fans in the outfield were talking to him about the cycle, but "if I had a chance to go three, I'm going three for sure."
"The skills and talent are there," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Brown. "The more consistent he gets, the better he's going to get."
Freddy Galvis went 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI and Jimmy Rollins doubled and had two hits for the Phillies, who snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 19-6 when scoring more than three runs.
Cliff Lee (7-2) was practically unhittable through seven innings, allowing three hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks before running into trouble in the eighth when the Brewers scored four runs. Lee got two outs in the eighth before he was pulled. He gave up three runs and seven hits total.
Lee said he started feeling cramps throughout his body in the frame. At one point during the inning, catcher Erik Kratz came to the mound before a longer-than-usual meeting with pitching coach Rich Dubee.
"I was a little dehydrated or something," Lee said. "I wanted to stay in the game and keep pitching but at the same time, I want to be smart."
Jonathan Lucroy hit a three-run triple and Jeff Bianchi went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Brewers.
Antonio Bastardo earned his first save in three chances with a shaky ninth. Bianchi's RBI single pulled Milwaukee within two runs, and the Brewers had the bases loaded with two outs. But Bastardo got pinch-hitter Martin Maldonado to fly out to center to end the game.
Philadelphia's regular closer Jonathan Papelbon, who has converted all 11 of his save opportunities, wasn't used because he was ill.
"He was very sick today," Manuel said.
Mike Fiers (1-4) had the shortest outing as a starter of his career, giving up seven runs and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings. It was the third start of the season for Fiers, who has been shuffled between the bullpen and starting rotation.
"It was just bad pitching on my part," Fiers said. "It's tough on a team to get going when the pitcher doesn't do well in the first inning."
The right-hander got the first two outs of the game before the Phillies scored five runs, highlighted by Brown's three-run homer to right. It was the sixth homer in the last six games for Brown, who upped his NL-leading total to 16.
"The way the scouting report is, it looks like I didn't read it," Fiers said of Brown's homer. "Brown's been crushing that pitch for a month and I didn't get it in enough. It's embarrassing to me. I made it tough on the team. They battled back and that makes it even worse. We could have won this game."
The Phillies got a break in the second inning when Bianchi, the Brewers' shortstop, committed a throwing error that allowed Ben Revere to reach first to open the inning. After getting to third on a steal and Rollins' single, Revere scored on Ryan Howard's sacrifice fly. When Brown tripled home Rollins, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke lifted Fiers, who has a 12.66 ERA in his starts this season.
"Just the life of his fastball and his confidence," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said of what is ailing Fiers. "It's tough to dig a big hole with (Lee) on the mound."
Lee retired nine straight batters between the first and fourth innings but had problems in the eighth.
The Brewers scored four runs — all with two outs — in the eighth, chasing Lee in the process. Norichika Aoki slapped a single to left to score Rickie Weeks for Milwaukee's first run. Gomez followed with the fourth single of the inning that ended Lee's day and put runners on first and second for right-handed reliever Justin De Fratus. De Fratus walked pinch-hitter Aramis Ramirez to load the bases for Lucroy.
Lucroy hit a liner off the top of the metal fence above the wall just to the right of the foul pole in left. Third-base umpire Tom Hallion originally ruled it a home run, but the call was changed to a triple after the umpires checked the replay.
Hallion, speaking to a pool reporter afterward, said he thought the ball hit the green wall behind the fence. Once the umpires realized the ball hit the railing, they used their judgment to rule Lucroy would have reached third.
The reversal came a day after Hallion, the crew chief, admitted an error was made when second-base umpire Mike Estabrook called Kyle Kendrick out on a pickoff attempt for the second out of the ninth inning in the Brewers' 4-3 win although replays showed that shortstop Jean Segura didn't have the ball when he applied the tag.
The three-run hit brought Milwaukee within 7-4, but De Fratus got Yuniesky Betancourt to line out to center to end the inning.
Lucroy went 1-for-4, finishing the three-game series 8-for-13 with three homers and eight RBIs.
The Brewers, who won the first two games of the three-game set, never have swept the Phillies in Philadelphia.
Notes: Manuel said third baseman Michael Young, who has missed the last five games while on the bereavement list, could join the team on Monday. ... Ryan Braun entered 8-for-16 with three homers off Lee, but finished 1-for-3 against the Phillies left-hander. ... Segura, who leads the league in average (.352) and hits (75), didn't start but grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. . Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick (5-3, 3.27) is scheduled to oppose Miami right-hander Tom Koehler (0-3, 3.22) when the teams open a three-game series in Philadelphia at 7:05 Monday night. . The Brewers send right-hander Marco Estrada (4-3, 4.96) to the mound on Monday against left-hander Tommy Milone (5-5, 4.04) when they host Oakland in the first of a three-game series at 8:10 p.m.
Last updated: 7:57 am Monday, July 29, 2013