CINCINNATI (AP) - The Reds couldn't touch 'em again. Nothing new there.
Whenever Cincinnati's hitters dig in against the Phillies, they look bad and come away feeling that way, too. They managed only six hits while getting shut out by Philadelphia for the second straight game, 3-0 on Wednesday night.
Cliff Lee came within one out of a complete game shutout, leaving with the bases loaded in the ninth. Ryan Madson got pinch-hitter Yonder Alonso on a foul pop to finish it.
It's getting old in Cincinnati.
The Reds entered the series on a hot streak, winning four straight. They ran into an old problem - they can't do anything against the Phillies' pitching. The Phillies swept them in the playoffs last season, with Roy Halladay throwing a no-hitter.
Philadelphia is 20-6 against Cincinnati lately, including 6-1 this season. And there's no wondering why.
``When you have pitching like they do, every run they score is huge,' Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ``Their pitching staff gets paid what our whole payroll is. They earn their money.'
He was exaggerating - slightly - about the payroll. Philadelphia's top four starters - Lee, Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt - make $56.5 million this season. Cincinnati's opening day payroll was $76 million.
Right now, they are worlds apart.
The NL East leaders are a season-best 40 games over .500, boasting the majors' best record at 86-46. The Reds have slipped back below .500.
Lee (15-7) extended the Phillies' domination, winning his sixth consecutive start. He retired the first two batters in the ninth, gave up a double by Joey Votto, walked Jay Bruce and hit Miguel Cairo with his 117th pitch, prompting manager Charlie Manuel to let Madson finish it off.
``Lee had control of all his pitches,' Baker said.
Hunter Pence homered off left-hander Dontrelle Willis (0-4), the Reds' hard-luck starter who couldn't get a break again.
Philadelphia scored in the first inning when the Reds failed to turn a double play with two runners aboard. Pence led off the sixth with his 18th homer, extending his hitting streak to seven games. Philadelphia scored another run on a forceout in the seventh.
No matter how well he pitches or hits, Willis can't get a win. He gets the lowest run support among Reds starters, and the bullpen has blown save chances in three of his starts. He gave up five hits in 6 2-3 innings.
``Guys on the other side of the diamond are pitching well,' Willis said. ``So I'm not frustrated. I like being in those type of games anyway.'
Notes: Lee was loudly booed in the fourth, when he grounded to second baseman Brandon Phillips, took a couple steps toward first, waved his right hand and headed back to the dugout. ... Phillips' hitting streak ended at 13 games, the longest by a Red this season. ... SS Paul Janish extended his career-worst slump to 0 for 26. ... The Phillies have won all seven of their four-game series this season. They have never had a four-game sweep in Cincinnati. ... The Phillies will start RHP Vance Worley in the final game on Thursday afternoon. Worley had a no-decision in his May 24 start against the Reds, giving up three runs in five innings. The Reds will go with RHP Mike Leake, who has given up 11 runs in 14 1-3 innings of his two starts against Philadelphia. ... The Reds plan to call up seven players from the minors on Thursday, including C Devin Mesoraco, their top draft pick in 2007. It will be his major league debut.
The Associated Press News Service
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