Philadelphia (53-31) at Toronto (40-44)

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  • Game info: 1:07 pm EDT Sun Jul 3, 2011
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Cliff Lee(notes) may not have gotten off to the rousing start expected after returning to the Philadelphia Phillies during the offseason.

His recent run has more than made up for it.

Lee could become the first pitcher in more than 22 years to fire four consecutive shutouts Sunday at Rogers Centre as Philadelphia seeks its first sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Lee (9-5, 2.66 ERA) was 4-5 with a 3.94 ERA through his first 11 starts before winning all five of his outings in June, giving up one run in 42 innings. His scoreless innings streak is up to 32 after a 5-0 victory Tuesday over Boston marked his third straight shutout.

No pitcher has had four in a row since the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Orel Hershiser threw five consecutive from Sept. 5-23, 1988. Prior to this streak, Lee had thrown only one shutout in his previous 37 starts including the playoffs.

“It’s been a good run, no doubt about it,” Lee said after allowing two hits Tuesday. “I’ve had a few in my career, but I don’t look back and compare them. I want to throw a shutout every time out there. I never want to give up a run.”

He allowed only one run in his last start against the Blue Jays on July 21, 2009, tossing a complete game in a 2-1 victory while pitching for Cleveland.

The Phillies (53-31), who have won five of their last six and 16 of 22, are looking for their first sweep of Toronto in 12 series between the teams since the start of interleague play.

Former Blue Jay Roy Halladay(notes) went the distance and Chase Utley(notes) hit a go-ahead two-run homer Saturday in Philadelphia’s 5-3 victory.

Frustrations boiled over in the ninth inning as Blue Jays reliever Jon Rauch(notes) and manager John Farrell were ejected after Shane Victorino(notes) singled home Utley. Ryan Howard(notes) drew a two-out walk on a borderline pitch in the previous at-bat.

“The first thing I told the umpire is it’s a shame that he can’t have an ERA, because those runs are his,” Rauch said. “I think he directly affected the outcome of the game.”

Jose Bautista(notes) hit his 26th home run in the loss, the fourth in five games for the Blue Jays (40-44). The slugger is ahead of his pace from last season’s 54-homer campaign, reaching No. 26 in his 76th game after it took 93 in 2010.

Bautista is hitting .353 with five homers in his last 10 games and is near the top of the AL with a .330 average. However, he’s 1 for 5 lifetime against Lee.

Jo-Jo Reyes(notes) (3-7, 4.77) will be on the hill Sunday looking for his first career victory against Philadelphia. The left-hander is 0-3 with a 6.45 ERA in four starts versus the Phillies.

Reyes has lost his last two outings, getting tagged for 10 runs and 14 hits in nine innings. He failed to pitch past the fourth inning for the fifth time in 16 starts Tuesday in a 7-6 loss to Pittsburgh.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Lee Phi vs. J. Reyes LAA
17-8 Record 7-11
2.40 ERA 5.57
238 K 87
42 BB 48
1.03 WHIP 1.59


Sunday, Jul 3