Phils' Lee has All-Star tune-up with 5-4 win over Braves

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA - Cliff Lee added another page to his All-Star resume Friday night, and gave the Philadelphia Phillies a promising start to a critical 10-game homestand.
Lee won his eighth straight game, and light-hitting Humberto Quintero homered and drove in three runs as the Phillies held off the Atlanta Braves, 5-4.
Lee (10-2) lasted 6 1/3 innings in 91-degree heat, ending a string of 11 straight starts in which he worked seven innings or more. He carried a 5-0 lead into the seventh but was knocked out when the Braves erupted for four runs. Now 5-1 with a 1.42 ERA over his last six starts against Atlanta, he allowed eight hits, struck out four and didn't walk a batter.
The winning streak equals an eight-gamer he had in 2009, and is three short of his career best. The victory also came one day before the All-Star teams will be announced.
"Obviously every player would like to be an All-Star," he said. "We'll find out tomorrow who makes it. Obviously I hope I'm one of the guys."
Like others within the Phillies organization, he believes the more pertinent thing is how the team fares on this homestand.
Now three games under .500, they have two more games against the Braves and four against Washington, the two teams immediately in front of them in the National League East. The stretch concludes with three games against the Chicago White Sox, immediately before the All-Star break.
"We're in a position where we have to have a real good homestand," manager Charlie Manuel said before the game.
General manager Ruben Amaro, also speaking before the game, agreed that it was "very important" to have a strong showing over the 10-game stand, but stopped short of saying it was a make-or-break homestand or if it will determine whether the Phillies are buyers or sellers at the July 31 trade deadline.
"I don't like to speak in absolutes," Amaro said, "but it's an important one, no question about it."
Friday's game was also the first of 16 the Phils have left against the Braves.
"They're in first place, and we're trying to catch up," Lee said. "The only way to do that is to beat them. We have plenty of opportunities to do that."
J.C. Ramirez surrendered a sacrifice fly to Andrelton Simmons after relieving Lee, but escaped the inning without further incident. Antonio Bastardo worked a 1-2-3 eighth, and Jonathan Papelbon blanked the Braves in the ninth for his 18th save.
Quintero, who made a rare start in place of Carlos Ruiz, began the night hitting .214 with a homer and five RBIs. But the right-handed batter hit an opposite-field two-run homer off Paul Maholm (9-7) in the third and doubled in the run that gave the Phillies a 5-0 lead in the sixth.
Ryan Howard hit his 11th homer of the year for the Phillies, who won for the third time in four games.
Atlanta's Dan Uggla hit a three-run homer in the seventh off Lee, his 15th of the season.
"I thought we had some pretty good at-bats against Cliff Lee," said Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez, who along with catcher Gerald Laird was ejected by plate umpire Angel Hernandez for arguing a called third strike in the third inning. "For us to come back from five down and make it a game in this ballpark, you feel like you have a good chance, if anybody gets a ball in the air."
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead on a throwing error by Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman in the first inning.
The homers by Quintero and Howard lengthened the lead to 4-0.
It was the first homer in 10 games for Howard, who had last gone deep when he homered twice off the Mets' pitcher Dillon Gee on June 22.
NOTES: Quintero's three RBIs were his most since he had three against Pittsburgh on Sept. 6, 2011. ... Uggla has hit at least 15 homers in each of his eight seasons in the majors. ... Freeman saw an eight-game hitting streak come to an end. ... Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins extended his hitting streak to eight games with a first-inning single. He added another single in the fifth. ... Philadelphia CF Ben Revere went 2-for-4 and has had 20 multi-hit games in his last 53. ... Atlanta PH Joey Terdoslavich had his first major league hit in the ninth, a single off Papelbon.

What to Read Next