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FLA@PHI: Lee helps himself with an RBI double

PHILADELPHIA -- The collective groan came after the 60th pitch.

The roar of applause seconds later told the story in the Phillies' 3-0 victory against the Marlins on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

Cliff Lee had faced the minimum through the game's first 14 batters, allowing only a walk to Gaby Sanchez in the second inning. Mike Stanton's two-out single in the fifth on a 1-2 changeup broke up Lee's no-hit bid, but Lee never flinched, posting a complete game two-hitter in front of 45,628.

His RBI double off the wall in the fourth put a stamp on the performance.

"I don't know how much more you have to do," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said. "It was his game."

Lee was brilliant at home again, striking out four and walking two for his second shutout of the year. He's won his last five home starts, allowing five earned runs in 40 innings, striking out 39 in that span.

It's a run very similar to the one he went on the last two postseasons, when he pitched the Rangers to the World Series behind two earned runs over 24 innings and allowed seven earned runs in 40 1/3 innings for the Phillies' 2009 National League championship team.

"I've had better stretches I think, to be honest with you, but it's good," Lee said. "I don't try to compare this to that. This game is what it is. Now it's over. Now I'm going to move on to the next one and I'm going to continue to look at it that way."

So too are the Phillies, who wrapped up an 11-game homestand 9-2, including seven in a row, and head to Seattle at 44-26, the best record in the Majors.

They also return to Interleague Play a far different club than when they took two out of three against the Rangers from May 20-22.

For one, Chase Utley is back.

More importantly, the offense is getting attention for all the right reasons rather than handicapping what's been stellar pitching all season.

Ryan Howard slugged his 15th home run on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth, and Jimmy Rollins doubled home Domonic Brown in the sixth after Brown led off with a single.

All three runs came with two outs. Entering Thursday, 41.5 percent of the Phils' runs scored this year have come with two outs. They now have the second-most two-out runs in the NL with 123. St. Louis has 134.

"If we score some runs and play the way we can, we've got a chance to have a very special season," Manuel said. "When we signed on, we signed on to go to the World Series and win."

It's why Lee signed on with Philadelphia, turning down more money from the Yankees and Rangers.

Those two teams met Thursday in New York, with former Phillies Minor League pitcher Brian Gordon making his first start since the Yankees grabbed him on a contract technicality that stated Gordon could join another team provided they promote him to their big league roster.

"They got Cliff Lee, I got Brian Gordon," Yankees GM Brian Cashman joked with reporters in New York. "I don't think the [Phillies] have anything to worry about."

Indeed. Comments