Rapid reaction: Phillies 5, Red Sox 0

June, 28, 2011
6/28/11
9:49
PM ET


PHILADELPHIA -- As odd as this might sound, the Red Sox should derive no small amount of comfort from their 5-0 loss to Cliff Lee and the Phillies on Tuesday night.

Having to face Lee once a summer, and possibly again in October, is infinitely more tolerable than regular encounters with the left-hander, which is what the Sox would have been looking at if Lee had opted for the last dollar and signed with the Yankees this past winter.

Instead, Lee chose red pinstripes over black, sparing the Sox from enduring another night like Tuesday, when Lee held them hitless for five innings and to two hits over nine in a one-sided win that gave the Phillies a leg up in the midsummer night’s dream version of the World Series, if you believe the preseason forecasts.

While Lee was throwing his third consecutive complete-game shutout, Josh Beckett was making his first start since the stomach flu knocked him out of commission for nearly two weeks. Beckett had been unhittable before his bellyache, throwing a one-hit shutout against the Rays, but might have been at less than full strength against the Phillies.

Rookie Domonic Brown hit a two-run home run in the second, Shane Victorino hit a two-run home run in the sixth and in between Lee knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly, the five runs surrendered by Beckett one more than the total he had allowed in six starts in May.

Kevin Youkilis (four-pitch walk in the first) was Boston’s only baserunner until Marco Scutaro lined a single to left-center to open the sixth. Scutaro vanished moments later, erased when Beckett rolled into a double play.

A similar fate awaited Dustin Pedroia after he walked to open the seventh. Adrian Gonzalez flied out -- he went hitless in three at-bats after coming in 7-for-10 against Lee -- and Youkilis grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.

Darnell McDonald (2 for his previous 27) lined a full-count pitch into the left-field corner for a double in the eighth, the third straight inning in which the Sox leadoff batter reached. But shortstop Jimmy Rollins made a terrific stop of Jason Varitek’s one-hop liner that nearly scalped McDonald in transit, Mike Cameron looked at a Lee bender for a called third strike and Scutaro grounded out to third.

TRIPLE ZERO: Lee became the first pitcher since Arizona’s Brandon Webb in 2007 to throw three straight shutouts. He has not allowed an earned run in 32 consecutive innings, a streak exceeded in Phillies history by only Robin Roberts (32 2/3 innings) and Grover Cleveland Alexander (41 2/3 innings).

INTERLEAGUE WOES: Since taking two of three from the Braves in Boston, the Sox have stumbled in interleague play, losing two of three to the Padres, two of three to the Pirates and now the first of a three-game set against the Phillies, the first team in the majors to reach 50 wins. The Sox fell to 45-33 and lost a game in the standings to the Yankees, who now lead by 1 games in the AL East. The Rays sit 2 back in third.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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