Phillies-Cardinals Preview

The Associated Press

The Philadelphia Phillies had little trouble scoring runs in the opener of their four-game set at St. Louis.

That has not been the case when Cliff Lee takes the mound.

The Phillies hope to give Lee some much-needed support when they try for a third consecutive victory Friday night against the Cardinals.

Shane Victorino and Freddy Galvis each drove in three runs as Philadelphia (23-23) blew an early six-run lead before holding on for a 10-9 win Thursday. Galvis, Placido Polanco, Carlos Ruiz and Ty Wigginton each had three hits as the Phillies pounded out a season-high 18 while scoring two more runs than they did in the previous four games combined.

"This was a test of character,'' said Victorino, who's batting .478 (11 for 23) with six RBIs in the last six games. "I think we can be a great team. It's just a matter of us going out there and doing it.''

Back to .500, Philadelphia has won two straight following a four-game skid. Its offensive outburst Thursday could be the spark the club needs to string together more victories.

"That was definitely a confidence booster for us," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We'll be OK.''

Manuel hopes his team can score some runs for Lee (0-2, 2.66 ERA).

In his third start since coming off the disabled list from a strained oblique, the left-hander yielded a season-high five runs and two homers in seven innings of a 5-1 loss to Boston on Sunday. Though this is the longest Lee has gone without a win to start a season in his 11-year career, his teammates have totaled nine runs in the six games with him on the mound.

Lee, however, won't pass the blame.

"I've gotta do a better job," he said. "I've gotta get deeper in the game without giving up so many runs."

Lee is 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA during the regular season against St. Louis, but he gave up five runs and 12 hits in six innings of a 5-4 loss to the Cardinals in Game 2 of last season's NL division series.

Yadier Molina is 4 for 16 against Lee, but the All-Star catcher had four hits Thursday, including a two-run homer.

David Freese and Matt Holliday each hit their 10th home runs as St. Louis (25-20) lost for the ninth time in 14 games to fall out of first place in the NL Central, one half-game behind surging Cincinnati.

Though his team fell short of a fourth consecutive victory, first-year manager Mike Matheny was not discouraged.

"I'm not going to beat myself up and I want to make sure they're not beating themselves up,'' Matheny said. "That was a hard-fought game.''

After going 3-0 with a 0.99 ERA in his first four starts, scheduled Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse (5-1, 2.91) is 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA in his last five. He gave up three runs and 11 hits in 5 2-3 innings but was in line for a win Sunday before the bullpen blew a two-run lead in a 6-5 loss at Dodger Stadium.

The right-hander has failed to complete six innings in three of his four May outings.

Lohse is 3-5 with a 3.84 ERA in 11 starts versus Philadelphia. That includes an 11-6 loss in Game 1 of the NLDS when he gave up six runs in 5 1-3 innings.

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