Series: Game 1 of 3

Philadelphia leads 1-0 (as of 9/5)

Game 1: Monday, September 5
Game 2: Tuesday, September 6
Game 3: Wednesday, September 7

Braves 0

(82-58, 38-30 away)

Phillies 9

(89-48, 47-22 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 5, 2011

    Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

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    ATL 000000000 0 5 1
    PHI 20023011 - 9 11 0

    W: C. Lee (16-7)

    L: D. Lowe (9-13)

    Cliff Lee earns sixth shutout after dominating Braves

    Associated Press

    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.

    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 and San Francisco.

    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.

    Game 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 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Game Information

    StadiumCitizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
    Attendance45,267 (103.7% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
    Game Time2:24
    Weather78 degrees, cloudy
    Wind7 mph
    UmpiresHome Plate - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Dale Scott, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor

    Research Notes

    Cliff Lee threw his 6th shutout of the season, more than he had in his entire career (5) entering this season. He's the first NL pitcher with 6 shutouts in a season since Tim Belcher had 8 for the 1989 Dodgers. With his 2nd K on Monday, he recorded the first 200-K season of his career.
    Cliff Lee joins a pretty impressive list of National League lefties to have six shutouts and 200 strikeouts in a single season in the past 50 years.

    Stats & Info blog

    From Elias: Cliff Lee has thrown 29.2 consecutive scoreless innings after having a streak of 34 consecutive innings earlier this season. The last major league pitcher with two scoreless inning streaks of 29.2+ innings in a season was Don Sutton in 1972 (29.2 and 35.0).
    Cliff Lee joins three of the best pitchers in Phillies history, and three Hall-of-Famers, as the only Phillies in the Modern Era to put up the kind of season he's in the middle of.
    Cliff Lee moved the ball around the zone Monday, but kept the ball belt level. He threw 43 pitches belt level, and the Braves went 1 for 17 with three strikeouts.
    From Elias: Cliff Lee is the third pitcher in the last 15 years to not allow a run in 5 of 6 starts in a single season. The others were Jamie Moyer in 2002 Brandon Webb in 2007.
    Cliff Lee's 6 shutouts are the most by any pitcher since Randy Johnson had 6 in 1998, the most by an NL pitcher since Tim Belcher had 8 in 1989.

    ESPN Stats & Information