Cliff Lee picked up his ninth win as he cruised after a rain-delayed start to propel the Phillies in a 4-2 win over the Nationals and into a tie in the NL East with Washington.
At this point last season, Lee was still searching for his first win. But after eight frames of two-run ball, to go with five hits allowed, nine strikeouts and no walks, Lee is now 9-2 this year with still nearly a month to go until the All-Star Break.
Lee did Tuesday what he typically does best: He threw strikes — 82 of his 110 pitches, in fact. Of the 29 batters he faced, 19 saw first-pitch strikes. Both runs he allowed came on solo homers — he hadn't surrendered a home run since May 17 but has still limited opponents to just seven long balls all season.
In his last nine starts, the left-hander is 7-0 with a 1.97 ERA and 64 strikeouts to just 10 walks in 68.2 innings. He's lasted at least seven innings in 13 of his 15 outings.
Michael Young paced the offense with three doubles, going 3 for 4 with an RBI on the night. Young is hot this month, hitting .379 with six extra-base hits and four RBIs. His season average now stands at .288, which is tops among the Phillies' regulars.
Ryan Howard provided the Phils with their first run on a sacrifice fly in the fourth. He also tripled to lead off the eighth but ended up stranded on third. Kevin Frandsen gave the Phillies the insurance runs they needed in the sixth with a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded to make it 4-1.
Jonathan Papelbon rebounded after Monday's mishap and earned his 14th successful save in the ninth. He needed just 10 pitches to close it out.
Wednesday night, the Phillies will go for the series sweep and their seventh straight win at home when Kyle Kendrick opposes Gio Gonzalez.