Published November 20, 2014
Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel made his decision even before he took the ball from Cliff Lee in the eighth inning.
Corey Hart's grand slam with two outs in the eighth off reliever Josh Lindblom prevented Lee from getting a rare win as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Phillies 7-4 on Thursday night.
"It wasn't really up for debate," Lee said of getting lifted before Braun batted in the decisive inning. "He kind of had his mind made up. And considering Braun is 2 for 3 with two home runs, it actually made some sense."
Lee allowed two solo home runs by Ryan Braun and another by Aramis Ramirez, but little else for 7 2-3 innings.
It looked as if Lee was going to get out of the eighth when Rickie Weeks hit a grounder to third baseman Kevin Frandsen with two outs. But Frandsen threw away the ball for a two-base error that kept the inning alive.
Manuel then removed Lee after 111 pitches for right-hander Lindblom (2-3), who intentionally walked Braun and Ramirez to load the bases. Hart hit a 2-2 pitch that barely made it into the Phillies' bullpen. Right-fielder Domonic Brown tracked the ball and timed his leap, but couldn't make the catch.
Lee said that he didn't get any chance to lobby with Manuel.
"I felt good, but it wasn't really debatable," Lee said. "Charlie came out there and said we're going to go with a righty. Obviously, if he asks me how I feel, what I think, I'm going to tell him I want to keep pitching."
Lindblom, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Shane Victorino on July 31, faulted himself.
"The whole inning, I wasn't aggressive in the zone," Lindblom said. "In that situation, obviously, you don't want Braun to beat you. You got to come after those guys. The most important thing in that situation was getting ahead, have them hit your pitch. I wasn't ahead in any at bat other than the Hart at bat."
Lindblom, whose made seven appearances for the Phillies and given up six earned runs in just five innings, thought Hart got the pitch he wanted.
"It was a fastball that I left up," Lindblom said. He was looking for something up in the zone to drive into a gap, and got that pitch."
Lee matched his season high with 12 strikeouts and was in line for only his third win in 22 starts until Hart's late homer. The left-hander gave up five hits without walking a batter.
The homers by Braun and Ramirez allowed the Brewers to open a 3-1 lead, but Philadelphia went ahead on Frandsen's two-out double off Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada in the fifth. The right-hander recorded the first two outs of the inning and then fell apart.
Ryan Howard singled to left, Brown walked and Laynce Nix singled to load the bases. Frandsen, recalled from the minor leagues when Placido Polanco went on the disabled list on July 27, hit a 3-2 pitch to the gap in left-center field, with all runners easily scoring to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead.
"You got to give Frandsen some credit, getting that bases-clearing double to give us the lead," Lee said. "That was huge by him. We just weren't able to keep the lead."
Livan Hernandez (4-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory. Jim Henderson recorded the final two outs for his third save in four chances, getting Erik Kratz to ground out with the bases loaded to end the game.
Hart had struck out in all three at-bats against Lee.
"Lindblom's been tough, but after the rough night I had I was excited that anybody but Cliff was out there," Hart said after the Brewers snapped a three-game losing streak.
Estrada took 108 pitches to get through five innings, giving up four runs, eight hits and three walks while striking out one.
Braun took early batting practice, nearly four hours before the game in an attempt to snap out of a 9-for-47 slump with no walks and no home runs in his last 49 plate appearances. The NL MVP hit an 0-2 pitch from Lee off the top of the wall in right-center for his 30th homer that gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead.
Ramirez followed with a homer to center, his 16th, to make it 2-0.
Philadelphia pulled to 2-1 in the third when Jimmy Rollins scored from third on a fielder's choice.
Braun then hit his second homer of the game in the fourth on an 0-1 pitch, marking his fifth multihomer game this season.
NOTES: Juan Pierre was caught stealing for only the fifth time this season when he got thrown out in the first. ... The Phillies are 1-52 when trailing after eighth innings. ... Polanco, out with back inflammation, went 1 for 3 in his first rehab game for Class-A Clearwater. ... Thursday's game was the 50th for Phillies 2B Freddy Galvis in his 50-game suspension for using a performance enhancing substance. Galvis will be placed on the 15-day DL on Friday for a lower back injury. ... Lee has given up 12 home runs in his last six starts.