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Joe Blanton will be back to starting Monday

After two postseason outings in relief for the Phillies, the right-hander is set to start Game 4.

October 19, 2009|Ben Bolch

PHILADELPHIA — Pedro Martinez didn't venture outside the clubhouse Monday night. Cliff Lee made sure of it.

Martinez has adopted a superstition in which he remains indoors once his Philadelphia Phillies teammates take the lead in the postseason in games he's not pitching.

So once the Phillies struck for four first-inning runs against the Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, Martinez figured he was going to stay warm on a chilly night.

Especially the way Lee was pitching.

The left-hander held the Dodgers to three hits in eight scoreless innings during Philadelphia's 11-0 victory at Citizens Bank Park.

He has pitched at least 7 1/3 innings in each of the first three playoff starts of his career.

"What you play all year for is a chance to get to the postseason, and once you get there, you've got to step up and try to give the team a chance to win," said Lee, who did not walk a batter and tied a Phillies postseason record with 10 strikeouts.

The Phillies acquired Lee from Cleveland in July for their postseason push, and he hasn't disappointed.

"This is a guy who came over to carry that burden on his back and is reacting perfectly," Martinez said.

The Dodgers put their only runner in scoring position in the seventh, when Ronnie Belliard hit a leadoff single and advanced to second base on Andre Ethier's groundout. But Lee struck out Manny Ramirez and Matt Kemp to end the inning.

"He just doesn't let you get comfortable up there," Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said, "and when he has the ball moving like that he's tough to hit."

It appeared that Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel would let Lee try for his second complete game of the postseason when the pitcher stepped to the plate in the eighth inning and singled up the middle.

But Manuel reversed course after Shane Victorino hit a three-run homer to give the Phillies an 11-run cushion.

"If I had known that were the case," Lee said, "I would have tried hitting into a double play or something to go back out there."


Short hops

Ryan Howard's two-run triple in the first inning gave him at least one run batted in in seven consecutive postseason games, a major league record. Howard drove in a third run in the second inning when he grounded out. . . . Jayson Werth's two-run homer in the first gave him 14 extra-base hits in the playoffs with the Phillies, surpassing the franchise record held by Mike Schmidt. . . . Manuel said Cole Hamels would likely start Game 5 on Wednesday. Hamels gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings during the Phillies' 8-6 victory in Game 1.


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