Lee joins rare club in winning after allowing eight runs

Lee joins rare club in winning after allowing eight runs

Cliff Lee's Opening Day performance was far from masterful, but the Phillies left-hander picked up a victory nonetheless, and he joined some exclusive company in doing so.

Lee became just the third pitcher in MLB history to allow eight earned runs on Opening Day and still record a victory. He's also the first pitcher to do so since 1937, when the St. Louis Browns' Oral Hildebrand gave up 10 runs in a 15-10 victory over the White Sox.

Eight years earlier, the Boston Braves' Bob Smith had surrendered nine earned runs in a 13-12 win over the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Lee, who gave up eight earned runs in five innings against the Rangers, was backed by a 14-run outburst from the Philadelphia offense. Not bad for Lee, who has been given some of the worst run support in the Majors over the past two seasons. In 2012, Lee made 30 starts and posted a 3.16 ERA, yet he picked up just six victories.

Only seven other starting pitchers in baseball history have pitched five innings, allowed eight earned runs and earned the win. Most recently, Andy Pettitte did so in an 11-10 Yankees victory over Baltimore on Sept. 29, 2007.

Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson was the last pitcher to allow eight earned runs and still get the win. He did so last May 17, pitching 7 2/3 innings in a victory over Baltimore. Lee became the first National League pitcher to do it since San Diego's Woody Williams on April 7, 2001.

There probably aren't many folks in Philadelphia who remember the all-time record holder for earned-runs allowed by a winning pitcher. On July 10, 1932, Philadelphia A's right-hander Eddie Rommel allowed 14 runs -- 13 earned -- in an 18-inning victory over the Indians. Rommel pitched the final 17 frames.

In fact, seven years earlier, Rommel pitched all 15 innings of an A's victory over the Browns, allowing eight earned runs.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.