In a relentless fifth-inning bombardment during Game 1 of the World Series, the San Francisco Giants reminded the world that Lee is not impervious to major league hitting.
The Giants chased Lee with a six-run fifth, a pummeling that handed him his worst-ever playoff performance and keyed San Francisco's 11-7 victory.
Lee allowed seven runs — six earned — and eight hits, including five for extra bases, over 4 2/3 innings. Freddy Sanchez(notes) knocked him around all by himself, hitting three doubles in three trips before finishing 4 for 5.
"I missed up, I made mistakes and they hit them. It was unacceptable," [Lee said.]
So. Cliff Lee is just a man.
This season, Lee had allowed only two runs and 13 hits in three playoff starts, covering 24 innings. Further, in eight career postseason starts, Lee came in with a 1.26 ERA, a 67-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio and an opponents' .229 slugging percentage. Lee's teams had won all of his starts. Until now.
Koufax, the iconic lefty who pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, had an 0.95 ERA and a 61-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in eight career postseason games from 1959-1966. He retired after the '66 season, never having another chance to smudge a near-perfect playoff report card.
In his previous worst game, Lee allowed five earned runs in Game 5 of the World Series, but most of the damage came after the Lee's Phillies jumped on the Yankees for a big lead.
The Rangers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second inning — and Lee's butcher-boy double was key to a run scoring — but the Giants didn't let Lee cruise on the mound for too long.
Cody Ross(notes) and Aubrey Huff(notes) followed with run-scoring singles to make it 5-2 and Lee was done. Juan Uribe(notes) finished off the scoring with a three-run homer against reliever Darren O'Day(notes).
- Cliff Lee