07/12/11 11:30 PM ET
Doc perfect, Lee yields run in NL's All-Star win
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
That win, of course, gives the NL home-field advantage in the World Series, something the Phillies hope will benefit them come October.
Roy Halladay kicked things off in extremely efficient style, needed only 19 pitches to retire the first six batters the AL sent to the plate. Cliff Lee came out of the 'pen to relieve him and after a perfect third, he gave up a solo home run to Adrian Gonzalez -- the first All-Star long ball since 2008 -- and was relieved with two outs and two runners on in the fourth.
The last time teammates have followed each other on the mound to start an All-Star Game was in 1998, when the Braves' Tom Glavine came in to relieve Greg Maddux in Colorado.
"It was nice to have Cliff come in right behind you, just kind of neat to have one of your teammates to go right there behind you," Halladay said. "I know Cole [Hamels] wanted to go, too, but you know, it's definitely been a great experience and it's been a lot of fun."
Hamels, Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco were all in uniform representing the Phillies, but did not play. Victorino and Polanco are hurt, and Hamels pitched on Sunday for Philadelphia.
Prior to this start, Halladay has had a checkered history in the All-Star Game, at best. Over 6 2/3 innings before his two perfect frames Tuesday, he had allowed six earned runs on 13 hits. In his previous All-Star start, in 2009, he gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits over two innings. But he put any concerns about another subpar All-Star performance to rest with a nine-pitch first inning. He is the first pitcher to toss two perfect All-Star innings since Roger Clemens in '01. Halladay and Lee combined for three spotless frames, matching Clemens and Freddy Garcia in that game.
"It was nice, there were a lot of positives this week," Halladay said. "Coming there with a couple of other pitchers and you know, playing well as a team, it's fun to come and be able to talk about good stuff and enjoy it and not talk about uncertain futures. I really enjoyed it and coming here with those guys made it great for me and it was a great couple of days."
The run Lee allowed in the fourth, temporarily putting the NL in a 1-0 deficit, was the first mark on Lee's All-Star record. He had previously pitched in '10 and '08, tossing three scoreless innings and striking out four.
"I made a mistake to Gonzalez, threw a first-pitch fastball away for a strike and then tried to throw a cutter away down the middle and he hit a home run," Lee said.
The '08 Midsummer Classic was the one other time Lee and Halladay both pitched on the same All-Star staff, but that time the roles were reversed. Lee, then a part of the Indians' rotation, started the All-Star Game in New York. He went two scoreless innings, striking out three. Halladay, the ace of the Blue Jays, pitched the fourth, allowing one hit.
With the Phillies in first place and owners of the best record in baseball, the significance of the All-Star Game -- the home-field advantage -- took on even more importance. Halladay stuck around after his start to watch the action for that reason, hoping that this year the Phils could take advantage of an All-Star win after losing in the NLCS in 2010.
"I was hoping last time it might maybe mean something, but it didn't work out that way, but yeah, obviously regardless, you want to go out and do your best," Halladay said. "These are the best players and you want to go out and do your job, so there's definitely always motivation there, so I think it is important, the home-field, it could come into play and you want to be part of trying to help get it for your side."
"Anytime you get a chance to be an All-Star, it's an unbelievable privilege," Lee said. "To represent your league with a couple of your counterparts, it makes it that much more special and it shows that we've been playing well and pitching well. We have five guys representing the Phillies and the NL. I'm unbelievably honored.
"It's a huge advantage for whoever makes it to the World Series. Anytime you have home-field advantage you're going to play more games at home, which is big."
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. Todd Zolecki contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.