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AP - Sports

Cliff Lee wasn't particularly lucky the first two months of the season.

There's reason to believe his luck could change in June.

Lee, who has won his last eight June starts, again tries to pick up his first victory of 2012 and help the Philadelphia Phillies avoid their fourth loss in a row Tuesday night against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Phillies (28-28) rallied from a three-run deficit against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw to tie Monday's series opener, but Elian Herrera's ninth-inning RBI single off Jonathan Papelbon lifted Los Angeles to a 4-3 victory.

Herrera, filling in for the injured Matt Kemp in center field, is hitting .308 in 19 games for Los Angeles (34-24), which won for just the second time in eight contests to maintain its three-game NL West lead over San Francisco.

The loss was the third straight for five-time defending East champion Philadelphia, which fell back to .500 after climbing a season-high three games above the break-even mark, but is still within four games of division-leading Washington.

The Phillies have won Lee's last two starts, but the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner did not earn the decision in either.

Lee (0-2, 3.00 ERA) has made six quality starts - including last Wednesday when he gave up three runs in six innings of Philadelphia's 10-6 victory over the New York Mets - but he remains one of three winless pitchers among the 127 who have made at least eight starts in 2012.

"I'm sure he's going to get some wins,'' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He'll get his share.''

Lee has won his last eight June starts while compiling a 0.65 ERA, and is 14-2 with a major league-best 2.49 ERA in that month since 2008. The left-hander was particularly sensational in June 2011, yielding one run, 21 hits and eight walks in 42 innings over five starts. He concluded the month with three consecutive shutouts to earn NL pitcher of the month honors.

One of his June starts a year ago came against Los Angeles, as he allowed seven hits and struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings of a 3-1 victory. He shut down the Dodgers again in August, improving to 2-0 with a 0.40 ERA in three career starts against them.

Lee has held Andre Ethier without a hit in six at-bats, and the Dodgers right fielder is slumping entering this contest. He is 3 for 21 in his last five games, dropping his season average 19 points to .314.

Hunter Pence is 1 for 10 - though the lone hit was a homer - during Philadelphia's three-game skid after batting .417 with a homer and eight runs scored in his previous seven contests. He is 5 for 10 with a home run and three doubles lifetime against Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley (2-4, 4.09), who is trying to snap a career-worst nine-start winless drought.

Billingsley gave up four runs, six hits and hit two batters in six innings of Thursday's 6-2 loss to Milwaukee. The right-hander, whose last five starts have come at Dodger Stadium, has an 8.68 ERA in his last two road outings.

Billingsley has pitched well at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, posting a 2.42 ERA in four career starts. He struggled in his lone outing of 2011 against the Phillies at Dodger Stadium, though, yielding five runs - two earned - and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings but not getting a decision in a 9-8 loss for Los Angeles.

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