Cliff Lee and Mike Minor were brilliant Friday night pitching deep into the game while stifling opposing bats. Both made one mistake. Minor’s was bigger. Lee went down early giving up a solo moonshot to Atlanta phenom shortstop Andrelton Simmons in the third inning. For the Phillies it was a pair of (relatively) young players — Darin Ruf and Cody Asche — teaming up for the decisive blow. The Phillies (64-77) won 2-1 in a quick game that lasted two hours and 14 minutes. “Clean game” Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said. “Crisp.” With two outs and two strikes on him in the seventh Ruf laced a single into left field to keep the inning alive. Asche didn’t wait as long. The 23-year-old Asche belted the first pitch he saw putting it into the right-center field seats at Citizens Bank Park for a two-run go-ahead home run. The trio of Lee Ruf and Asche could be key contributors in 2014 for the Phils as the latter pair essentially are auditioning for big-league roles next season as the Phillies’ disappointing season winds down. They have proven their worth. Ruf’s bat and surprising versatility in the outfield have been refreshing as he can play both right and left field competently something he could not do in spring training. Asche’s play at third base and his impressive streak at the plate since starting sour have placed him squarely in the 2014 plans. He is hitting .333 with four homers after starting his career on a 1 for 17 streak. “I wouldn’t say the nerves have dissipated I think you just learn how to control them” Asche said. Asche also made an outstanding bare-handed play at third base in the ninth to ensure the win. “I think early you could tell he was a little nervous just unsure and kind of feeling it out” Lee said. “Of late you can sense he’s gotten more comfortable and his skills are showing. I expect him to be a huge part of our team in the future.” Lee meanwhile kept his boring-yet-brilliant. He pitched eight crisp innings giving up just two hits and one run the homer to Simmons. His ERA is down to 3.01 on the season.
Lee deals a gem as Phils beat Braves 2-1
Courier-Post | Sep 7