Cliff Lee struck out 16 Braves in seven innings on Friday night, but was out-pitched by Derek Lowe as the Phillies fell to the Braves 5-0. Lee allowed three runs on nine hits, while Lowe took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and finished with no runs, two hits, one walk, and four strikeouts in 6+ innings. He left the game after giving up back-to-back hits to start the seventh inning, with an apparent leg or foot injury. The three pitchers who followed Lowe, Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters, and Craig Kimbrel, held the Phillies scoreless in the last three innings. The Braves scored their last two runs off Phillies pitcher Dany Baez in the ninth inning.
Lee became the the 14th pitcher since 1919 to strike out at least 16 hitters and take a loss. He gave up all three of his runs in the third inning. After Lee struck out both Lowe and Martin Prado looking to start the inning, he allowed four straight hits which resulted in the three runs. Alex Gonzalez doubled, followed by an RBI single by Chipper Jones, followed by an RBI double by Brian McCann, followed by an RBI double by Dan Uggla. All four hits were on the first pitch of each at-bat. Lee doesn't give up that string of hits, and it's a completely different ballgame by the ninth inning.
After tonight's ballgame, Lee drops to 2-3 on the year, with a 3.69 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 46.1 innings. Lowe is now 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 44.2 innings. The Phillies are now 21-10 in 2011, with the Braves sitting 3.5 back in the NL East at 19-15.