Phillies 2, Braves 0

Phillies (1-2), Braves (1-2)

WP: Lee (1-0

LP: Medlen (0-1)

SV: Papelbon (1)

Last year, it took Cliff Lee four and a half months to get in the win column.

This time around, it took just one night and eight scoreless innings – the stuff of propping up struggling pitching staffs – for wins No. 1 for himself and the Phillies, the 2-0 winners over the Braves yesterday at Turner’s Field to avoid their first series sweep and three-game losing streak of this infant season.


Lee went 8 strong and worked a dazzling 2-hitter, dealing 8 strikeouts and no walks, giving him 18 straight starts spanning back to last season without walking 2,  a major league record.

Of 106 pitches, 78 were strikes.

Five of those innings went 1-2-3, including an 8-pitch eighth.

Sure, he got results. But for a team and pitching staff that had been knocked around by Brave muscle for 6 home runs in 7 hours and 18 innings prior, it was nice to see Lee quiet Atlanta’s bats with his fastball.

Which did the same to early-season panic.

The Other Guy

Who didn’t look like the same guy on Thursday.

For all his struggles this spring (1-2, 7.23 ERA) and in last year’s one-game playoff loss (6.1 IP, 5 R, 2 ER), Medlen was still unbeaten in 23 starts and 15 decisions that matter since May 23, 2010.

That run ended Thursday. Medlen (0-1, 3.60 ERA) served just 2 earned runs in 5 innings.

Save for a 9-pitch fifth, Medlen struggled throughout. He threw 92 pitches, just 57 strikes, and allowed 9 baserunners through 3 2/3 innings, his most since July 24, 2010, a 6 inning outing.

But for all their struggles in clutch situations – we’re getting there… -- the Phillies weren’t nearly as puzzled by his changeup as batters had been for over three years.

Kicked By The Clutch

They’re not making it look easy.

The Phillies on Thursday were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left 9 on base, bumping their season totals to 3-for-23 and 26 in just 27 innings.

They loaded the bases in the first and twice in the second, and yet managed just 2 runs, off a Ben Revere fielder’s choice and a Chase Utley sac fly to right – both in the second.

In the first, Domonic Brown grounded out and stranded 3. Ryan Howard lined out to short with the bags full in the second, and grounded to second to end the fourth and strand runners on first and second.


The best fix for a flaky bullpen? Starters that go eight innings.

The Phillies bullpen had entered having allowed 6 runs in 7 2/3 innings. Closer Jonathan Papelbon on Thursday fanned 2 in an 11-pitch ninth inning for the Phillies first save of the year.

Also: Ryan Howard logged his first hit of the year in his first at-bat on Thursday, a single to center. He went 1-for-4, making him 1-for-12 with 4 strikeouts in 3 games. ... Chase Utley continued bearing the brunt of the run-producing duties, going 1-for-2 with a walk and a sac fly. He's now driven in 6 of the Phillies 9 runs. ... Ben Revere, who led the majors with a 67.0 ground ball rate in 2012 and was one of only two hitters over 60.0, has hit grounders on 8 of 11 balls in play. But he flashed his value as a lead-off guy in the ninth, getting into the head of reliever Anthony Varvaro, who seemed more concerned with a setting up a throw to second than getting to Jimmy Rollins. The result? A 3-1 count for Rollins.

Next: Kyle Kendrick against RHP Wade Davis, traded to Kansas City in the James Shields deal in the offseason, in the home opener at Citizens Bank Park. First pitch at 4:05 p.m.