|Philadelphia (1-2) «||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||8||1|
ATLANTA -- Cliff Lee won't have to wait until Independence Day to get his first victory this season.
"It's nice to get it out of the way," he said. "No doubt."
Lee allowed two hits in eight scoreless innings and the Philadelphia Phillies scored twice in the second inning to win their first game of the season with a 2-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.
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Lee (1-0) didn't win his first game last year until July 4, but the former Cy Young Award winner outpitched Kris Medlen (0-1) with temperatures in the low 40s and a light mist falling most of the game.
Philadelphia scored two runs in the second on Ben Revere's fielder's choice RBI and Chase Utley's sacrifice fly RBI.
After Lee watched Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay lose the first two games by a combined 16-7 score, the left-hander walked none and struck out eight in 106 pitches to give the Phillies' renowned threesome a big lift.
The Braves homered six times in the first two games, but managed just two singles against Lee.
"They seemed really aggressive and were swinging the bat pretty good the first couple of games," Lee said. "I just tried to allow them to see the fewest amount of pitches as possible and attack the zone in good locations. For me, the key is to limit the amount of pitches they can see by throwing strikes and allow the defense to make plays."
Lee left for pinch-hitter Freddy Galvis in the ninth. Jonathan Papelbon earned his first save by striking out pinch-hitter Ramiro Pena, getting Andrelton Simmons to ground out and striking out Jason Heyward.
The Braves lost for the first time in 24 starts by Medlen, who beat the New York Mets last Sept. 30 to surpass the mark of 22 straight starts set by Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants in 1936-37 and matched by Whitey Ford of the New York Yankees in 1950 and `53.
Medlen, who allowed six hits, two runs, four walks and struck out three in five innings, labored through the first three innings on 61 pitches.
"It was one of those games you had to battle through," Medlen said. "I think it could have been a lot worse, but overall I tried to give us the best chance I could to win. Obviously I picked a bad day because Cliff Lee was dealing."
Lee, who either lost or received no-decision in his first 13 starts last season, improved to 4-1 with 0.77 ERA -- a span of 47 innings in his last six starts against Braves.
Lee didn't envision pitching eight innings after the Braves made him throw 41 pitches in the first two frames.
"I was pretty pleased with that," he said. "I felt strong the whole time, but the first couple of innings they made me throw more pitches than I would have liked to."
Though Medlen finished the outing with respectable numbers, he hardly resembled the blossoming ace who went 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in 12 starts last season and was named NL pitcher of the month in both August and September.
Medlen issued a walk to load the bases once in the first and twice in the second. He escaped the jam in the first, but wasn't so fortunate the next two times.
The Phillies, who were 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday, left the bases loaded in the first, but took their first lead of the series in the second.
After Lee drew a walk to load the bases with no outs, Laynce Nix scored on Revere's fielder's choice RBI grounder to make it 1-0. Jimmy Rollins walked to reload the bases before Utley's sacrifice fly RBI scored Erik Kratz for a 2-0 lead.
Lee had 15 no-decisions in 30 starts last season, tied for most in the majors with Cincinnati's Mat Latos, but against Atlanta, he extended his major league mark to 18 straight starts of pitching at least six innings and walking either none or one.
Since beating the Mets last July 4 in New York, Lee is 5-2 with a 1.61 ERA in 10 starts on the road.
"He sure made it look pretty easy," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He commanded all his pitches, got into the eighth inning. We had two baserunners in the whole game against him."
|Cliff Lee steadies the Philadelphia ship, going eight scoreless as the Philles get their first win. (USATSI)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Ben Revere, CF||5||0||1||1||0||1||0||.214|
|Jimmy Rollins, SS||4||0||2||0||1||0||1||.357|
|Chase Utley, 2B||2||0||1||1||1||0||1||.455|
|Ryan Howard, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||0||5||.083|
|Michael Young, 3B||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.111|
|Domonic Brown, LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.364|
|Laynce Nix, RF||4||1||1||0||0||2||1||.333|
|John Mayberry Jr., RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.286|
|Erik Kratz, C||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.167|
|Cliff Lee, P||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||.000|
|a- Freddy Galvis, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jonathan Papelbon, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Lee in the 9th|
|2B - Jimmy Rollins (2, Medlen), Erik Kratz (1, Medlen)|
|SF - Chase Utley (1)|
|RBI - Ben Revere (1), Chase Utley (6)|
|SB - Ben Revere (2, 2nd base off Medlen/Laird), Jimmy Rollins (2, 3rd base off Medlen/Laird)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Rollins-Howard|
|E - Chase Utley (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|Cliff Lee (W,1-0)||8||2||0||0||0||8||0||0.00|
|Jonathan Papelbon (S,1)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||9.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 106-78, Jonathan Papelbon 11-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 8-8, Jonathan Papelbon 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 26, Jonathan Papelbon 3|
|Andrelton Simmons, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.231|
|Jason Heyward, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.182|
|Justin Upton, LF||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.300|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.500|
|B.J. Upton, CF||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.000|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.250|
|Chris Johnson, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.333|
|Gerald Laird, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.286|
|Kris Medlen, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|Cory Gearrin, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Reed Johnson, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|Jordan Walden, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Anthony Varvaro, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Ramiro Pena, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|a-flied out for Gearrin in the 6th|
|b-struck out for Varvaro in the 9th|
|DP - Uggla-Freeman|
|Kris Medlen (L,0-1)||5||6||2||2||4||3||0||3.60|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kris Medlen 92-57, Cory Gearrin 11-10, Jordan Walden 15-9, Anthony Varvaro 21-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kris Medlen 6-6, Cory Gearrin 2-1, Anthony Varvaro 1-3|
|Batters Faced - Kris Medlen 25, Cory Gearrin 3, Jordan Walden 4, Anthony Varvaro 6|
|Attendance - 18295|
|Game Time - 2:33|
|Temperature - 41|
|Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Scott Barry, Second Base - Tim Welke, Third Base - Mike Everitt|