(Sports Network) - The Phillies welcomed Cliff Lee back with open arms, not to mention a five-year, $120 million contract in the offseason.
The former American League Cy Young Award winner makes his official return to the team tonight when they host the Houston Astros in the second installment of a season-opening three-game series.
The second part of Philadelphia's vaunted rotation, Lee seemed completely off the Phillies' radar in the offseason, but the team literally stole him away from the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers to join a stud rotation that includes Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.
In 2009, Lee led the Phillies to the World Series before a six-game loss to the New York Yankees. The crafty lefty was traded that season from Cleveland, and during his time with the Phillies he compiled a 7-4 record with a 3.39 ERA in 12 regular season games. He kicked it up a notch in the playoffs that year with a 4-0 record, including a pair of complete games and a minuscule 1.56 ERA.
Last season, Lee had a combined 12-9 record and 3.18 ERA pitching for Seattle and Texas.
He hasn't fared well against the Astros, as evidenced by an 0-2 record and 9.35 ERA in two games.
These teams opened the 2011 season yesterday in a dramatic finish, with the Phillies fashioning six singles off Brandon Lyon in the ninth inning, scoring three times in the frame for a 5-4 win. John Mayberry Jr. hit the winning single over the head of center fielder Michael Bourn.
"I saw momentum continue to build. Nobody wanted to make the last out," Mayberry said. "We're always alive until the 27th out is made.
"This is a spectacular way to start the season. no doubt."
That capped a four-run rally for the Phillies, who received six innings from reigning NL Cy Young winner Halladay.
On the other side, former Phillie Brett Myers threw seven solid innings and had a pair of singles.
"I don't know. A squirrel finds a nut every now and then. I hit it in the right spot," Myers said.
Bourn had a two-run triple in the seventh that gave Houston a four-run cushion that didn't last.
The Astros turn the ball over to Wandy Rodriguez, who starts his seventh major league season -- all with the same team. The southpaw is coming off a sub-bar 11-12 campaign in which he had a 3.60 ERA in 32 starts. He's 2-1 in five games (3 starts) with a lifetime 3.05 ERA against the Phillies.
Amazingly, the Astros had won five straight games at Citizens Bank Park prior to yesterday's collapse. Houston won four of the seven meetings last season.