We Be-LEE-ve

Cliff Lee helps Phils keep Dodgers scoreless in Game 3

By ROB MAADDI
|  Monday, Oct 19, 2009  |  Updated 10:51 AM EDT
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Images: Phillies Shutout Dodgers

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It may have been freezing at the ballpark, but starting pitcher Cliff Lee was red hot in the first inning, quickly shutting down the Dodgers.

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Cliff Lee dominated the Dodgers, while Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth provided the big swings early and the Philadelphia Phillies cruised past Los Angeles 11-0 Sunday night to take a 2-1 lead in the NL championship series.

Lee provided another brilliant playoff start, striking out 10 and allowing only three hits in eight innings.

"Cliff Lee, what can I say about him? He was absolutely outstanding," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Howard hustled for a triple, Werth homered and the Phillies led 6-0 by the second inning. Howard made two headfirst dives during the romp -- the big slugger has an RBI in all seven of Philadelphia's playoff games this year, a record streak in a single postseason.

Howard had three RBIs, including his two-run triple in the first. Werth followed that with a two-run homer, and that was more than enough for Lee.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner faced just two batters over the minimum. Lee gave up a pair of singles to Manny Ramirez and one to Ronnie Belliard.

Lee is 2-0 with an 0.74 ERA in three postseason starts, giving the Phillies exactly what they expected when they acquired him from Cleveland in late July.

"I don't know if I ever doubted myself," Lee said. "I always had confidence in myself."

On a brisk 46-degree night, Philadelphia's hitters had no trouble swinging hot bats. Every starter except Raul Ibanez had a hit and all nine starters scored a run.

Victorino's home run to deep right field put an emphatic exclamation mark on the rout. The shot also made the Phillies the city's highest-scoring team of the day -- the Eagles lost 13-9 to the Oakland Raiders.

The Flyin' Hawaiian got things started in the first inning. Victorino singled with one out and stole second. Chase Utley followed with a single. Howard then ripped a liner into the right-field corner to score both runners. The 255-pound slugger chugged around the bases and dove headfirst into the third for his first career postseason triple.

"It was one of those things where I had to make up my mind," Howard said. "Once I hit second, I was going for it."

Werth made it 4-0 with a long drive that landed in the shrubs in almost straightaway center.

Carlos Ruiz started the second inning with a double and scored on Jimmy Rollins' one-out double that chased Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda. Scott Elbert came in and walked Victorino and Utley. Howard's RBI dribbler put the Phillies up 6-0.

Coming off the most-lopsided win in their postseason history, the defending World Series champion Phillies will try to move closer to a return trip in Game 4 Monday night. Joe Blanton starts against the Dodgers' Randy Wolf, who hasn't pitched since the opener of the division series against St. Louis.

The next two games in the best-of-seven series are at home for the Phils.

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