Cliff Lee still can’t catch a break. The Phillies left-hander fanned 12 while allowing two runs in 7 2/3 innings Tuesday against the Dodgers, but he still took a loss in a 2-1 game, leaving him 0-3 on the season.
Lee has gone nine outings without a win despite a 2.92 ERA. He’s given the Phillies seven quality starts and he even went 10 scoreless innings against the Giants in April, yet not once has the outcome fallen in his favor.
In the Phillies’ defense, they did score five runs in Lee’s May 25 start and 10 runs on May 30, winning both games. Unfortunately, the bulk of the runs came too late for Lee. Both games were tied 3-3 when he exited.
Give Chad Billingsley the credit for shutting down the Phillies tonight. He allowed just one extra-base hit — a Jimmy Rollins double — and one walk in seven innings of work. Josh Lindblom and Kenley Jansen finished up from there.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.