PHILADELPHIA(AP) One strike away from a shutout,
stepped off the mound, took a deep breath and allowed himself to enjoy the moment.
Quite a debut for a postseason rookie.
Lee dominated the
, tossing a six-hitter, and the
began their World Series title defense with a 5-1 victory in their playoff opener Wednesday.
had two hits and two RBIs, and
drove in runs with key extra-base hits off 15-game winner
Lee, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, struck out five and had no walks in his first career playoff start. He retired
16 straight batters at one point until
hit a wind-blown double in the seventh. Lee lost his shutout when
doubled in a run with two outs in the ninth.
''I had him 0-2 and I stepped off and wanted to give myself a chance to absorb it all,'' Lee said. ''Then I threw three straight
balls and allowed a double in the gap. Maybe it cost me a run. Whatever, we had a five-run lead.''
Game 2 of the best-of-five NL division series is set for Thursday with
, last year's World Series and NLCS MVP, on the mound for the Phillies against Colorado's
Some questioned manager
's decision to give Lee the ball over the playoff-tested Hamels for the first game. But Lee made his manager look brilliant
with a masterful performance.
On a day when swirling winds made flyballs difficult to track, Lee ignored the elements and shut down the NL's second-highest
scoring offense. Avoiding the adventures that come with the Phillies bullpen, Lee mixed a deceptive fastball with off-speed
pitches, had pinpoint accuracy and threw 113 pitches.
''He was aggressive, he had good tempo and rhythm and he handled the whole flow of the game real good,'' Manuel said.
The hard-throwing Jimenez was equally impressive against the league's No. 1-scoring offense for four innings, but ran out
of gas in the fifth. He got chased with no outs in the sixth after allowing nine hits and five runs in five-plus innings.
''Up until the fifth, it was one of the better games he had pitched over the course of the month,'' Rockies manager
said. ''He was really, really on his game into the fifth. He had all his stuff.''
A sellout crowd of 46,452 - the largest in the six-year history of Citizens Bank Park - rocked the ballpark, waving their
white-and-red ''Fightin' Phils'' towels. The Phillies were 7-0 at home last October and set a franchise attendance record
Werth, one of five All-Stars in Philadelphia's lineup, got it started with a walk in the fifth. He scored when Ibanez ripped
a double into the right-field corner. Ibanez's hit fired up the fans, who screamed ''Rauuuuuuuul!''
followed with a single to right to make it 2-0.
The Phillies got insurance runs in the sixth.
led off with a single and stole second. Howard lined a run-scoring double to left that mixed up
, who fell backward into the wall.
Werth followed with a drive that hit high off the left-center field wall. Werth may have had a chance for an inside-the-park
homer, but he trotted slowly to first before turning it on and settling for a triple after the wind kept the ball in the park.
''Had we not been dealing with the wind conditions, that ball would have been hit out of the ballpark,'' Tracy said.
Werth, who didn't even see Tulowitzki's ninth-inning double until it passed him, said the sun and wind made it ''the toughest
day I've ever seen in Philly.''
came in to face Ibanez after Werth's hit, and allowed an RBI single that made it 5-0.
That was plenty of support for Lee, who made sure everyone has to wait another day to see if
gets the chance to be Philadelphia's closer.
and J.A. Happ were warming up in the ninth in a non-save situation.
Just two years ago, Lee watched from the bench as the
reached the ALCS. He was left off the postseason roster after a poor season in which he was demoted to the minors and relegated
to the bullpen.
But he went 22-3 last year and was shipped to Philadelphia on July 29 when the cost-cutting Indians purged their roster.
''I tried to treat it as much as a regular game as I could,'' Lee said. ''Obviously, there's more excitement with a playoff
game but it's still 60 feet, 6 inches to the plate and it's the same strike zone.''
Jimenez showed off his blazing fastball early. He reached 100 mph against the second batter,
. The 25-year-old right-hander didn't wait long to mix speeds, either. He froze Howard with an 80 mph curveball for a called
third strike in the second. He got Utley on the same pitch in the fourth.
The Phillies have been on cruise control for a while, waiting to start the postseason and have a chance to be the first repeat
champions since the
New York Yankees
won three World Series in a row from 1998-2000. Though they didn't clinch their third straight NL East title until the final
week, it was never in doubt. Philadelphia moved into first place for good on May 30, and had a comfortable lead the rest of
Colorado rebounded from an awful start and finished a franchise-best 92-70, including 74-42 after
as manager on May 29.
NOTES: The Rockies are making their third postseason appearance in the franchise's 17 years. They swept Arizona in the 2007
NLCS before getting swept by Boston in the World Series. ... Kevin Bacon and his brother, Michael, sang the national anthem,
wearing Phillies jerseys. ... Lee singled and stole second base with two outs in the third. It was the first ever steal by
a Phillies pitcher in the postseason.