Lee struggles, bullpen allows winning run in loss

Lee struggles, bullpen allows winning run in loss

Lee struggles, bullpen allows winning run in loss

CHICAGO -- The Phillies' bullpen tossed four scoreless innings to help the team to a comeback victory over the Cubs on Friday. On Saturday, Zach Miner gave up the go-ahead run on the second pitch he threw in relief of starter Cliff Lee.

Miner allowed a solo home run to Starlin Castro to break a tie in the sixth, and the Phillies lost, 4-3, to Chicago at Wrigley Field.

"I was trying to throw a fastball away," Miner said. "It just ran back over the middle, and [Castro] put a good swing on it, obviously."

Lee -- who entered the day 4-0 with a 1.77 ERA in six career starts against Chicago -- gave up three runs (two earned) on nine hits and three walks in five innings, striking out four. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 14 of 26 starts this season, including 10 of 15 on the road.

"I feel like I had to battle," Lee said. "It seemed like they had a lot of long at-bats and grinded me out and saw a bunch of pitches and battled. … I feel like [my stuff] was OK. I feel like I wasn't commanding the ball as well as I would like and they just had some tough at-bats."

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said one of the keys for his team was making Lee throw a lot of pitches. He threw 113.

"Guys had a good approach and we got him to throw a lot of pitches," Sveum said. "[We] got some hits and got some slugging off him. He's not going to walk a whole lot of guys."

The left-hander gave up an RBI single to Cole Gillespie in the second and a Gillespie sacrifice fly in the fifth.

He allowed an unearned run in the third, when with two outs and nobody on, Donnie Murphy hit a ground ball to third that Michael Young couldn't come up with cleanly on the backhand, enabling Murphy to reach. Junior Lake and Welington Castillo followed with back-to-back singles to tie the game at 2.

Castro's home run in the sixth came on a 1-0 fastball from Miner to put the Cubs ahead, 4-3.

"[Lee] just seemed a little out of sync the whole start," said Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg. "[He threw] a lot of pitches, [he was] missing just off the plate. … He was a little off, but he did battle with guys on base and minimized [the runs scored]. But he wasn't quite himself out there today."

The Phillies got on the board first on a Kevin Frandsen solo home run in the second -- his second in as many days and fifth of the season. It was the second time in Frandsen's career that he's homered in consecutive games (he also did it on Aug. 19 and 24, 2007, with the Giants).

In the third, Philadelphia was gifted a baserunner when Chase Utley hit a slow dribbler to third that was gloved by Murphy, who made a good throw to first that went off the glove of Anthony Rizzo, who momentarily took his eye off the ball.

Utley attempted to steal second and Cubs starter Chris Rusin tossed to Rizzo at first, who made a bad throw to second, enabling Utley to reach.

Carlos Ruiz followed with a double down the left-field line to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth, Young lined an RBI triple to right field to put the Phillies on top, 3-2. The ball rolled down the line and caromed off the wall past Gillespie, enabling Lee to score from first and Young to reach third.

Young went 3-for-5 and has a nine-game hitting streak against the Cubs (19-for-38). He has also had at least two hits in five of his last six games overall.

Though the Phillies scored only three runs, the Cubs made some good defensive plays to prevent Philadelphia from putting more runs on the board.

In the eighth, Gillespie made a diving catch in right field to rob Darin Ruf of a hit. With two outs in the ninth, Rizzo made a full-extension dive to his right to snare Jimmy Rollins' sharp ground ball and end the game.

"[The Cubs] threw some defense at us," Sandberg said. "The third baseman [Murphy] saved a double. [There] was a diving play in right field. Rizzo covered the four-hole on a couple of plays. They threw some glove at us and minimized the baserunners."

The Phillies dropped to 12-20 against National League Central opponents this season. They are also 15-56 this season when scoring three runs or fewer.

Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyBal9. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.