Phillies hold off Braves for Lee

Phillies hold off Braves for Lee

July 6th, 2013 by Associated Press in Sports - Professional

Philadelphia Phillies' Cliff Lee delivers during the first inning of a baseball game with the Atlanta Braves, Friday, July 5, 2013, in Philadelphia.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

PHILADELPHIA - Humberto Quintero and Ryan Howard hit home runs to give Cliff Lee a five-run cushion, and the Philadelphia Phillies held on for a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.

Dan Uggla hit a three-run shot as the Braves snapped Lee's streak of 11 straight games pitching at least seven innings and allowing three earned runs or less.

But Lee (10-2) still won his eighth straight decision. He allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. J.C. Ramirez and Antonio Bastardo combined for five outs, and Jonathan Papelbon finished for his 18th save in 22 tries.

Right fielder John Mayberry Jr. helped Papelbon with a sliding catch on Brian McCann's sinking liner for the second out of the ninth inning.

Lee is 11-2 in last 14 starts against National League East opponents.

Atlanta starter Paul Maholm (9-7) gave up five runs -- four earned -- and nine hits in six innings. Tim Hudson was scheduled to start for the Braves but was pushed back one day because of a stiff neck.

Desperate to avoid falling further behind in the NL East standings, the Phillies (42-45) opened an important 10-game homestand before the All-Star break looking to gain ground. The first seven games are against the two teams above them in the division.

The division-leading Braves have lost three in a row. The Phillies have won three of four, including two of three at major-league-leading Pittsburgh.

Lee cruised into the seventh with a four-hitter before running into trouble. He hit Freddie Freeman with a pitch, and Chris Johnson followed with a single. Uggla then hit a drive to left-center that got the Braves within 5-3.

After Lee gave up a one-out double to McCann, pinch-hitter Reed Johnson singled to chase him. Ramirez came in and allowed a sacrifice fly to Andrelton Simmons that cut it to 5-4.

Quintero drove an opposite-field shot out to right to make it 3-0 in the second inning. A Braves fan dropped the ball back onto the field, and Quintero stopped at second before being awarded the homer. The ruling was upheld after the umpires looked at a video review.

Howard connected in the third, hitting a towering shot way out to right-center for his 11th homer this year.

Quintero's RBI double drove in Delmon Young for a 5-0 lead in the sixth.

Braves catcher Gerald Laird was ejected by plate umpire Angel Hernandez after getting called out on a pitch that appeared high and outside in the third. Laird was tossed after shouting an expletive as he walked toward the dugout. He turned around and ran at Hernandez, going nose-to-nose in a heated exchange while manager Fredi Gonzalez tried to calm him. Gonzalez also was ejected.

A throwing error by first baseman Freeman gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the first.

Braves catcher Evan Gattis was cleared to start having a catch. He has been sidelined with a strained right oblique muscle. Luis Ayala returned to Atlanta's bullpen for the first time since being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in late April.

Hudson (4-7, 4.22 ERA) goes against Kyle Kendrick (7-5, 3.59) tonight. Hudson is 0-6 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 starts since his last win on May 5.