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Phils blank Braves behind Lee's sixth shutout

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- All those zeroes are no big deal to Cliff Lee.

Lee tossed a five-hitter for his sixth shutout of the season, helping the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies beat the second-place Atlanta Braves 9-0 on Monday night.

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Lee (16-7) struck out six, walked none and needed only 100 pitches to finish off the Braves after falling one out shy of a shutout in his previous start at Cincinnati. The left-hander has won his last seven starts, five of those scoreless appearances.

He's the first pitcher to record six shutouts in a season since Randy Johnson in 1998.

"I guess that's pretty good," Lee said with a shoulder shrug. "It is what it is. Obviously that's a good thing anytime you pitch the whole game and not give up any runs. But I don't think this is a time to pat myself on the back."

The major league-leading Phillies increased their division lead to 8½ games over Atlanta and reduced their magic number for clinching their fifth straight NL East title to just 16 with 25 games remaining.

Hunter Pence drove in three runs, and Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz each hit a two-run single to help Philadelphia rough up Derek Lowe. Ryan Howard added his 31st homer.

Lowe (9-13) allowed seven runs -- five earned -- and eight hits in five innings. The veteran righty had pitched well in his previous three starts, allowing just three earned runs in 18 innings.

"They dominated every aspect of the game," Lowe said. "Sometimes you have to give credit. We got outplayed."

Despite trailing the Phillies by a large deficit, the Braves should play into October. They lead the wild-card race by 8½ games over St. Louis.

Lee, the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner, is making a strong push to win the NL award. Teammates Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels are also in the mix. Lee picked up where he left off in August when he was 5-0 with a microscopic 0.45 ERA. He lowered his ERA to 2.47 and surpassed 200 strikeouts for the first time in his career.

"His command is very good, he's putting the ball where he wants to, moving his pitches around," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "On nights his curve is moving, he's very tough."

Pence gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead with a two-run single in the first. Placido Polanco and Chase Utley hit consecutive one-out singles. After Howard walked to load the bases, Pence hit a bouncer past third baseman Martin Prado.

Victorino added a two-out, two-run single in the fourth. Both runs were unearned because of an error by shortstop Alex Gonzalez on a bouncer hit by Ruiz that put two runners on.

Victorino advanced to second on the throw to the plate after his single. He stole third and kept on running home when the ball skipped past catcher Brian McCann. But Lowe covered in time to tag out Victorino, who stopped a couple feet short of the plate, ducked and tried to sneak under Lowe's tag.

Utley hit a triple high off the right-field fence with one out in the fifth. After Howard was intentionally walked, Pence ripped an RBI double just inside the first-base bag. Ruiz added a two-run single that made it 7-0.

Howard lined a solo shot out to right in the eighth.

"This is September and we're trying to finish up strong," Howard said. "You can't let up on them. We've been on the other side where the Mets had a big lead [in September] and we came back."

Howard also made an outstanding over-the-shoulder, sliding catch in front of the railing after running a long way down the right-field foul line in the fifth. He got a standing ovation from an appreciative crowd of 45,267. It was the 205th consecutive sellout at Citizens Bank Park, including postseason play.

Fans mocked the Braves with the tomahawk chop in the eighth and ninth.

Notes

  • Atlanta's Chipper Jones wasn't in the lineup because of flu symptoms.
  • The Phillies have 20 shutouts this season.
  • Lee became the fourth Phillies lefty to record 200 strikeouts in a season.
  • Lee was the NL Pitcher of the Month in June after going 5-0 with an 0.21 ERA.
  • Lee hadn't had much success against Atlanta, going 1-3 in his previous six career starts.
  • Lee's winning streak is his longest since winning eight in a row with Cleveland and the Phillies from July 16 to Aug. 24, 2009.
  • Utley came in slumping. He was 2 for 28 before going 2 for 5.
  • Vance Worley (10-1, 2.85) pitches for the Phillies on Tuesday night. Tim Hudson (14-8, 3.05) goes for the Braves.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Talk about dominant -- Cliff Lee has won his last seven starts, and hasn't allowed a run in five of those games. (AP)
Talk about dominant -- Cliff Lee has won his last seven starts, and hasn't allowed a run in five of those games. (AP)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

C. Lee
IP 9.0
H 5
ER 0
BB 0
K 6
Philadelphia

H. Pence
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
 

Related Video

Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Michael Bourn, CF4000010 .296
Martin Prado, 3B4000000 .262
Brian McCann, C4010000 .282
Dan Uggla, 2B3010011 .237
Matt Diaz, RF3010001 .273
Freddie Freeman, 1B3010021 .291
Alex Gonzalez, SS3000002 .229
    Arodys Vizcaino, P0000000 .000
Jose Constanza, LF3010011 .337
Derek Lowe, P1000010 .191
   a- Antoan Richardson, PH1000000 .500
    Scott Linebrink, P0000000 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   b- Jack Wilson, PH-SS1000001 .246
Totals3005006  
a-popped out for Lowe in the 6th
b-grounded out for Moylan in the 8th
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Michael Bourn 1
DP - Bourn-McCann
E - Alex Gonzalez (12, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Derek Lowe (L,9-13) 5875440 4.65
Scott Linebrink 1111001 3.56
Peter Moylan 1000010 3.38
Arodys Vizcaino 1211100 6.00
IBB - Howard by Derek Lowe
HBP - Polanco (by Scott Linebrink)
WP - Scott Linebrink 2 (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Derek Lowe 97-60, Scott Linebrink 20-10, Peter Moylan 12-9, Arodys Vizcaino 22-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Lowe 9-2, Peter Moylan 1-1, Arodys Vizcaino 1-2
Batters Faced - Derek Lowe 27, Scott Linebrink 4, Peter Moylan 3, Arodys Vizcaino 6
Philadelphia Phillies
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Shane Victorino, CF4012100 .303
Placido Polanco, 3B4121010 .276
Chase Utley, 2B5220002 .265
Ryan Howard, 1B3221202 .254
Hunter Pence, RF4123001 .308
John Mayberry Jr., LF2100212 .262
Carlos Ruiz, C4112012 .281
Michael Martinez, SS3000000 .213
Cliff Lee, P4110024 .212
Totals33911955  
Batting
2B - Hunter Pence (32, Lowe)
3B - Chase Utley (6, Lowe)
HR - Ryan Howard (31, Linebrink)
SH - Michael Martinez (5)
RBI - Shane Victorino 2 (56), Placido Polanco (43), Ryan Howard (107), Hunter Pence 3 (82), Carlos Ruiz 2 (32)
2-OUT RBI - Shane Victorino 2 (30)
SB - Shane Victorino (18, off Lowe/McCann)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Utley-Martinez-Howard, Lee-Martinez-Howard
Philadelphia Phillies
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Cliff Lee (W,16-7) 9500060 2.47
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 100-70
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 10-9
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 30
Game Information
Attendance - 45267
Game Time - 2:24
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Dale Scott, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor