Cliff Lee earns rare win as Phillies finish sweep of Nationals


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.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.