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Phillies blank Marlins, win seventh straight

PHILADELPHIA -- Cliff Lee's swing is nearly as impressive as
his arm.

Lee tossed a two-hitter and had two hits and an RBI, helping the
Philadelphia Phillies beat the Florida Marlins 3-0 on Thursday to
complete a four-game sweep and win their seventh in a row.

Lee (7-5) didn't allow a hit until Mike Stanton grounded a
single to center with two outs in the fifth. He struck out four and
walked two to record his seventh career shutout and second this
season.

Lee got the Phillies started offensively with an RBI double in
the fourth. After an 0-for-13 start at the plate, he's 8-for-20
with two doubles and four RBIs.

"I like doing both," he said. "Obviously my job is to pitch,
but any time you can contribute, it's a good feeling."

Lee has a short, compact stroke that's more fluid than some of
the regulars. He routinely hits ball hard in batting practice and
sometimes shows frustration when he doesn't.

"As pitchers, we're not expected to hit, but I try to take it
serious and help the team win any way I can," Lee said.

Ryan Howard homered for the NL East-leading Phillies, who
improved their major league-best record to 44-26.

The struggling Marlins have lost 15 of 16. They were 29-19 and
just one game behind Philadelphia after a 1-0 victory in San
Francisco on May 26 but are 3-18 since and have fallen 11½ games
out.

Florida's Javier Vazquez (3-7) allowed two runs and eight hits
in five innings in his best start in a while. He entered with the
highest ERA in the majors among starters at 7.09.

"Vazquez kept us in the game," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez
said. "He just made a bad pitch to Lee."

After Michael Martinez hit a two-out single in the fourth, Lee
drove a 1-2 pitch off the fence in right-center. Lee is batting
.242 (8-for-33) overall.

Howard lined an opposite-field shot out to left-center in the
fifth. He finished the 11-game homestand with three homers and 11
RBIs.

Jimmy Rollins hit an RBI double in the sixth to increase the
lead to 3-0. Rollins was just 7-for-37 during the homestand but
had three homers and 10 RBIs.

Lee has been outstanding in his last three starts, going 3-0
with an 0.38 ERA. The lefty is 5-1 since losing at St. Louis on May
16 and has lowered his ERA to 3.12.

"I don't know how much more he can do," Phillies manager
Charlie Manuel said. "He did a super job."

Logan Morrison had Florida's other hit, a single leading off the
seventh. The Marlins were outscored 25-6 in the series.

Game notes
The Phillies are 31-7 when they hit at least one homer.
... A crowd of 45,628 was the 176th straight sellout at Citizens
Bank Park, including postseason play. ... Howard is 8-for-21 with
four homers and eight RBIs off Vazquez. ... Lee has 22 career
complete games. ... The Phillies head to Seattle after a 9-2
homestand. ... Lee trails teammate Roy Halladay 114-111 for most
strikeouts in the majors. ... The Phillies have thrown nine
shutouts. ... Florida's worst stretch was a 3-19 skid late in the
1998 season. ... Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez didn't start the day
game after playing last night. He grounded out as a pinch-hitter in
the ninth.