By Sam Bush

That crashing sound you heard last night coming from Citizens Bank Park were Ruben Amaro Jr.’s hopes to get a boatload of young talent in trade for Phils lefty Cliff Lee.

In his first start since May 18, Lee lacked pin-point control and crispness during a 7-4 loss on Monday to the Giants.

He gave up six runs – all earned – on 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

It was the most hits he has given up in a game all season and just the third time this year he has been charged with six runs or more.

It was certainly not the performance Lee or the Phillies envisioned for his return to the mound, especially with a sea of scouts in attendance checking out the starter who could fetch a nice haul in a blockbuster trade before next Wedneday’s deadline.

“It was good to be back,” said Lee, who was activated from the disabled list after suffering a left elbow strain. “I would have liked the results to have been different but it is what it is.”

The good news is there is nothing wrong with Lee physically after throwing 90 pitches, including 59 for strikes.

“I felt good,” he said. “I felt fine the whole way.”

Mechanically, it’s a different story.

“I’d say he was just rusty,” Phils manager Ryne Sandberg said. “It was evident in the first inning when he went 2-0 on the first couple of batters. He showed some rust there and when he was throwing strikes he seemed not to be on the corners with the command he normally has. Balls were over the plate.”

Despite falling behind on the first two batters of the game, Lee needed just nine pitches to get through the first inning.

However, he ran into trouble in every inning but the fifth.

After Pablo Sandoval (broken bat) and Michael Morse opened the second with back-to-back singles, Lee struck out the next two batters but surrendered a single to Gregor Blanco. The base hit scored Sandoval while Morse was nailed at the plate, limiting the damage to one run.

In the third, Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong led off with a broken-bat single and Hunter Pence ripped a single past third baseman Cody Asche. Then, Posey looped a two-run single to give the Giants a 3-2 advantage.

The Giants loaded the bases in the fourth with one out on two singles and a walk but Lee was bailed out by a couple excellent defensive plays by Asche, including a diving snare for the final out.

In the sixth, Adam Duvall hit a two-run home run that put the Giants back in front and this time for good.

“Hey, they earned it,” said Lee, who had compiled a 2.29 ERA since getting hammered for eight runs in the season opener against Texas. “They got 12 hits off of me. I have to give them some credit there.”

After Pence knocked in the Giants’ sixth run with a two-out single four batters later, Sandberg ended Lee’s evening.

“When I went out to get him he felt he still has some left in him,” Sandberg said. “He felt good but since it was the first time in two months I felt there was some rust.”

Lee will get at least one more start – Saturday against the Diamondbacks – before next Wednesday’s trade deadline.

However, he might need a few more to regain the groove he was in before the elbow strain stole more than two months of his season. If that is the case, and that’s what it certainly looks like, don’t count on Lee changing uniforms next week.

It could still come in August if Lee returns to form and clears waivers.

Maybe by then, Lee will look more like himself.

“I felt good physically, I just was not locating as well as I’d like,” Lee said. “Hopefully I can iron it out between now and the next start. There were spurts of it but I need to be more consistent. It’s not that crazy considering first time on mound in two months.”

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