After a rough few days, the Philadelphia Phillies finally broke out at the plate.
Cliff Lee is surely hoping they saved some offense for him.
Lee takes the mound opposite Tony Cingrani as the Phillies wrap up a three-game home set against the injury-plagued Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
The Phillies (18-22) had been limited to seven runs while hitting .178 during a four-game losing streak – including back-to-back shutouts – before winning 12-1 on Saturday. Domonic Brown went 2 for 5 with a homer and career-high five RBIs while Cody Asche drove in three runs.
"It definitely feels good. It’s just one game, though," said Brown, who snapped out of a 6-for-53 slump. "I’m trying to build forward, stay positive and just keep having fun. With getting my number of at-bats, I’m going to do what I have to do on the field. It’s just all about keeping my confidence level up and having fun, playing the game of baseball."
The Reds (19-22), meanwhile, have averaged just 2.7 runs during a 4-6 stretch. With Jay Bruce already sidelined, All-Star first baseman Joey Votto missed his second straight game with a strained quadriceps, leaving Cincinnati without its two biggest offensive cogs.
"We’re still optimistic that he may not need to go on the DL," manager Bryan Price told the team’s official website. "That being said, we’ll probably have more clarity to that once we get through this weekend series and see how things evolve."
The Reds will try to bounce back against Lee (3-4, 3.23 ERA), who is still seeking his first home win thanks in large part to a lack of run support. The All-Star left-hander has been given only eight runs over four starts in Philadelphia, where he’s 0-3 despite a 1.55 ERA.
Lee was hurt by Asche’s three errors in Tuesday’s 4-3 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels. He surrendered four unearned runs and six hits over seven innings.
"I thought Cliff was outstanding with his stuff," manager Ryne Sandberg told MLB’s official website. "Probably could have pitched a shutout with that stuff. That was shutout stuff."
Lee is 3-0 with a 1.94 ERA in his last six starts against the Reds, who are looking forward to Cingrani’s return. The left-hander is set to come off the disabled list after missing 2 1/2 weeks with tendinitis in his throwing shoulder.
"It’s always a good thing to get a break, but I don’t want a break," he said. "It put a little more pressure on the other four starters, which wasn’t too good. I didn’t want to take it but it’s definitely going to help."
Cingrani (2-2, 3.34), holding opponents to a .220 average, has struck out 32 and walked 17 over six starts spanning 32 1-3 innings. In his only appearance versus Philadelphia, Cingrani yielded three runs over five innings in a 5-3 road loss May 17, 2013.
"I feel strong. I can’t wait to go out there and pitch against the Phillies," he said. "I pitched against them last time and lost at Citizens Bank Park. It should be pretty good to get out there and face them again."
Cingrani will need to be careful against Chase Utley, who is batting .452 with six doubles and three triples during an eight-game hitting streak.