Cliff Lee bested Jordan Zimmermann on Sunday, pitching seven innings of one-run ball to earn his third win as the Phillies topped the Nationals 4-1.
The Phillies held the Nationals to just five runs over three games in pulling off a home sweep to improve to 61-67. It’s the first time they’ve been within six games of .500 since June 28.
The Nationals had their chance to get to Lee in the seventh, only to be undone on the basepaths. With Jayson Werth on second, Adam LaRoche hit a long fly to right that bounced off the top of the railing and came back into play. Both thought it was a homer, but it was ruled the ball remained in play. LaRoche ended up being tagged out between second and third, while Werth only advanced to third base.
Werth did come around to score on a Tyler Moore double, but the Nats might have had a chance for a big inning there.
With Jonathan Papelbon unavailable after pitching three straight days, Josh Lindblom got five outs for his first career save. Lindblom had a 7.88 ERA in 10 appearances since arriving from the Dodgers in exchange for Shane Victorino.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”