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.
As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.
Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.
Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.
Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.
Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:
Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.
Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.