LOS ANGELES (AP) - Of all the games in which Ted Lilly pitched well enough to win and didn't since the Dodgers acquired him at the non-waiver trading deadline last season - and there have been a bunch of them - this one had to sting the most.
Lilly gave up two runs and six hits over eight innings against Philadelphia on Tuesday night during a 2-1 loss in which his teammates didn't score while he was in the game.
The main reason for that was fellow left-hander Cliff Lee, who delivered the crushing blow in the seventh with a home run that provided the Phillies with a much-needed insurance run. Lee drove a 2-0 pitch into the right field pavilion with one out in the seventh, the 25th home run Lilly has surrendered this season.
``That's going to be bother me for a while, for sure,' Lilly said. ``That was a major mistake that cost us a good chance to win the game.'
Lee, who spent most of his 10-year career in the American League, did not have a home run in 51 career at_bats entering this season. His first one came July 9 against Atlanta's Tommy Hanson in a no-decision at Philadelphia.
``I found myself in a 2-0 count and got a good pitch to hit,' Lee said. ``I obviously put a good swing on it. I wasn't trying to hit a home run, but once I made contact, I was pretty certain it was it was gone. Anytime it's a one-run game and you can extend the lead, it's huge. That was a big run for us right there and it turned out to be the winning run.'
It was Phillies broadcaster and former slugger Gary Matthews Sr. who gave Lee the inspiration to swing for the fences.
``On the way over, Sarge was talking about the guys that had hit the ball out of the stadium (Willie Stargell twice, Mark McGwire and Mike Piazza), and I was just jokingly saying that I was going to do it today,' Lee said. ``Obviously I didn't hit one out of the stadium, but I hit one. I was just joking around with those guys. I never expected that to happen.
``Pitching eight innings without giving up a run is great. I feel really good about that. And anytime I do something with the bat - hitting a home run or getting a bunt down - it leads to positive things for the team.'
Lilly (7-12) struck out five and walked one - the 36th time in as many starts with the Dodgers that he has not allowed more than two bases on balls. He retired NL RBI leader Ryan Howard on inning-ending groundouts his first two times up - both times with two men on base.
Rollins lined a soft opposite-field double over the head of first baseman Casey Blake in the third inning to drive in Wilson Valdez with the Phillies' other run.
``Teddy threw the ball really good tonight,' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ``He had command of everything he wanted to do. But he got behind in the count to Lee and he hit a homer.'
The Phillies maintained their 8 1/2-game lead over Atlanta in the NL East. They won for the 11th time in 12 games and went 36 games over .500 (76-40) for the first time since 1977, when the team finished 101-61 and lost to the Dodgers in the NL championship series.
Lee (12-7) game up four singles and allowed only two runners past first base. His previous outing against the Dodgers - a 3-1 win over Lilly on June 6 - began an incredible month for Lee in which the three-time All-Star became the first Phillies pitcher to throw three consecutive shutouts since Robin Roberts in 1950.
Coming off a 3-0 victory last Thursday at San Francisco in which he threw 106 pitches and posted his major league-leading fifth shutout, Lee raised his strikeout total to 177 - eight shy of his career-best total from last season.
Lee fanned Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier their first two times up en route to his 17th career double-digit strikeout game and eighth this season - the most by a Phillies pitcher since 1988, when Curt Schilling did it 15 times.
``That's a huge part of my game - throwing strikes and forcing them to swing the bat. I try to do everything I can to prevent walks and stay away from 2-0 and 3-1 counts. And if I do that, more times than not, they're not going to walk. I did walk two guys tonight, and I'm not really happy about that. But fortunately, they didn't come around to score.'
Shane Victorino was hit by Lilly's next pitch, but went straight to first base without incident. Victorino touched off a benches-clearing incident last Friday night at San Francisco after he was plunked by Ramon Ramirez, and has played two games since appealing the three-game suspension he received from Major League Baseball.
Lilly gave up singles to his first two batters of the game before rookie shortstop Dee Gordon executed an unassisted double play on Chase Utley's low line drive - short-hopping the ball and tagging lead runner Rollins before stepping on second for the force on Victorino. Utley stole second before Howard grounded out against the shift.
The first two Dodgers got hits in the bottom half, including a bunt single by Jamey Carroll that put runners at the corners after Gordon stole second. But Lee struck out Ethier and Kemp, then retired Aaron Miles on a foul pop to first base after Carroll stole second.
``Anytime you face first-and-third with nobody out, it's a tough situation regardless of who's up - much less Ethier and then Kemp behind him,' Lee said. ``Those were two big strikeouts. If they were able to get a run there, it's a different game. So that was definitely a big inning for me.'
Ryan Madson got three outs for his 21st save in 22 chances, despite allowing an RBI single in the ninth by Blake.
Notes: The Dodgers held a special pregame ceremony to honor Hall of Famer Duke Snider, the center fielder on Brooklyn's only World Series championship team, who died Feb. 27 at age 84. Tuesday was 58 years to the day that Snider hit a tiebreaking grand slam off Joe Nuxhall at Cincinnati's Crosley Field to snap a scoreless tie in a 9-1 Dodgers win - the first of only three slams Nuxhall would give up in his 16-year career. ... Dodgers C Rod Barajas was 0 for 2 and is hitless in his last 17 career at_bats against Lee. Backup C Dioner Navarro is 1 for 16 against him.
The Associated Press News Service
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