We shall call this the Kim Batiste Game: Any game in which an ace starter gives you seven or more stellar innings only to see his lead vanish thanks to shitty relief pitching and an awful error, but the team prevails when the goat (not Wilson Valdez) redeems himself in walk-off fashion.
Cliff Lee pissed eight innings of excellence. His stream, golden-hued, frothy and uninterrupted.
It was beautiful.
His fastballs gently rubbed the outside corner. His changeups deployed their parachutes mid-flight. And his curve balls left rainbow trails while tiny gnomes, along for the ride, mooned batters as their spaceships dipped into pots of gold shaped like Brian Schneider’s catcher’s mitt. It was all quite homoerotic, actually. Beautiful. But homerotic.
Anyway, Chad Qualls and Hunter Pence shit on Lee’s excellence without so much as a courtesy flush.
Those who skipped work or have nonsensical jobs like me: Raise your hand if you knew Qualls was going to hock up a two-run ninth inning lead?
– raises arm in an erect fashion –
So did Lee. Look at his face after he finished off the Astros in the eighth:
He knew it. He fucking knew it.
Of course Jonathan Papelbon would be unavailable on the one days he’s actually needed. Yet when J.D. Martinez hit a two-out single to right field in the ninth, the Phillies were given a gift. The gift of life: pinch-runner Brian Bogusevic – the tying run – stopped at third, preserving the lead for the Phillies.
He stopped at third until Pence managed to squirt the ball out of his throwing hand like a frightened prisoner handling soap during his first communal shower at the state penitentiary.
Slip. Run scored. Me, doubled over in front of my TV like a frightened pr… never mind.
Game, tied. Lead, blown. Lee, winless, pissing into the wind.
Luckily, rookie Jake Diekman, who looks like a cross between Ryan Madson and a serial killer (not mutually exclusive) spliced with Timothy McVeigh and a character from Children of the Corn - my preferred appearance for relievers – was able to shut the Astros down for the rest of the ninth and the tenth innings.
Mows down hitters, eats them
In the bottom of the tenth, enter Pence, who was reprising the role of 1993 Kim Batiste as he hit his second home run of the day:
You got two of them, kid. Now go eat.
Brett Myers, who looks like he’s gained 50 pounds and six tattoos, gave up the walk-off blast, but he didn’t think it looked like trouble off the bat:
"I honestly thought it was going to fall in front of the left fielder or possibly a sliding catch. I didn't think he hit it good at all."
Pence’s ex-girlfriend, Lindsay Slott, an Astros fan with whom Hunter broke up just weeks after being traded to the Phillies, gave running commentary on Pence’s up-and-down afternoon.
First, the fielding gaff: