PHILADELPHIA - Cliff Lee finally got hit hard.
Garret Anderson hit a three-run homer off the Phillies’ new ace and three other Braves went deep to help the Atlanta Braves hand Lee his first NL loss with a 9-1 win Saturday night over Philadelphia in a rain-shortened game.
“I went to watch every hit I gave up and basically all night they were right down the middle,” Lee said. “I got ahead and didn’t walk anybody and was in position to put guys away but I didn’t do it. I’ve got to do a better job of keeping the ball down. They’re a very good hitting ballclub and they didn’t miss any of them.”
The game was called with the Phillies due up in the eighth inning after a 43-minute delay caused by torrential rain. The game started 24 minutes late due to a rain delay.
Lee (5-1) was making his sixth start with Philadelphia since being traded from Cleveland on July 29.
“He had an off night,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He got the ball up on the left-handed hitters. The way he’s been pitching you figure sooner or later he’s going to have a tough night.”
Matt Diaz and Yunel Escobar also homered off Lee, who had been practically unhittable for the NL East-leading Phillies entering Saturday night. He entered with an ERA of 0.68 and had surrendered just 24 hits and six runs, three earned, in 40 innings while holding opponents to a .175 average.
“He made more mistakes than he’s been making,” Diaz said. “I watched film and he missed five spots in two games. I think he would tell you he didn’t hit his spots tonight.”
After three scoreless innings, Anderson gave Atlanta a 3-1 lead in the fourth with his three-run shot to right. Four batters later, Diaz hit a two-out, two-run homer.
In the next inning, Yunel Escobar homered to deep left to make it 6-1.
Prior to the Braves’ power surge, Lee hadn’t allowed a homer in 43 innings since being traded to Philadelphia. The three homers he gave up Saturday were the most allowed in a game this season by Lee, who had surrendered just 10 in 192 innings entering Saturday. He left after giving up 10 hits and six runs in five innings.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
“You’re never really comfortable in this park,” Lowe said. “For whatever reason, I’m able to pitch good games here. I don’t know why. I really enjoy pitching here.”
Anderson and Diaz finished with three hits, while Escobar had two hits.
Chipper Jones hit a two-run homer in the sixth. He had been in a 3 for 42 skid.
Philadelphia’s Chase Utley hit a solo homer in the first, his 28th of the season.
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