Cliff Lee held the St. Louis Cardinals hitless for seven innings Sunday night at Progressive Field. Yadier Molina ended the no-hit bid with a slicing fly ball that carried just out of the reach of rightfielder Shin-Soo Choo’s glove, and ended with Molina standing on second. Lee regained his composure and finished off the game allowing no runs on three hits with six strikeouts.
A first-inning, two-run blast off the bat of Mark DeRosa spotted Lee a quick 2-0 lead, which was insured in the 5th inning by Kelly Shoppach’s solo home run. Excellent infield defense by both teams also helped keep the two teams in check, but as expected, the pitching of two former Cy Young Award winners stole the show.
Despite seven innings of five-hit baseball, Chris Carpenter (4-1) suffered his first loss of the season as two of the five hits plated all three of Cleveland’s runs.
Lee (4-6), often a victim of poor run support, stifled St. Louis bats while earning his fourth win of the season. Lee’s composure showed throughout the night as he carefully located fastball after fastball on the corners of the plate. Lee, predominantly a fastball pitcher, thrives on pitch placement.
Indians’ pitching held Cardinal bats to six runs over the three game series, allowing the Tribe to win yet another series. The Indians have slowly inched toward division leader Detroit, as they now stand six games back.
Cleveland opens a three-game set tomorrow, at home, against NL Central leading Milwaukee. Carl Pavano (6-5) is expected to get the ball against Dave Bush (3-3) on Monday night.