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Lee fans 12 over 7 2/3 solid innings

Though Cliff Lee couldn't have envisioned going winless in his first 11 starts, that's exactly where the left-hander sits.

But he'll have the chance for that first win in his 12th start on Friday, when the Phillies take on the Rays in the series opener at Citizens Bank Park.

Despite having a solid 3.24 ERA, Lee is 0-3. He took a no-decision in his most recent outing, on Saturday against the Blue Jays, surrendering five runs on a season-high 12 hits in seven innings.

But Rays manager Joe Maddon isn't fooled by Lee's record or the fact that the Phillies are at the bottom of the National League East, understanding that Philadelphia is still a tough team to beat.

"I know they're missing some key players, but we still get to see Lee and [Cole] Hamels in the same three-game series," Maddon said. "They're still formidable. They're good."

Meanwhile, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel knows that his team will have to grind out at-bats in a series that has James Shields taking the hill on Friday and David Price getting the start on Sunday, with Alex Cobb taking the hill in between.

"They've got tremendous pitching. The pitching is real good," Manuel said. "I keep up with them. At times they have trouble scoring runs, but they're an American League team, and when they're having a good series, they can put up some runs on you."

Shields didn't factor into the decision in his previous start, on Saturday against the Marlins, a game that Miami won, 4-3, in 15 innings. The right-hander went 7 2/3 innings, allowing three unearned runs on eight hits.

"I felt pretty good out there, but errors cost us some," Shields said. "But to be able to hang in there that long and kind of grind it out, it was good to see."

Rays: Peralta suspended eight games
Major League Baseball handed down Joel Peralta's punishment on Thursday afternoon, giving the reliever an eight-game suspension for possessing a foreign substance in his glove.

Peralta was ejected from Tuesday's game against the Nationals for having a "significant amount" of pine tar on the inside of the glove.

Peralta has decided to file an appeal, so the punishment will be deferred until the process is complete.

• The Rays have claimed infielder/pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad off waivers. Designated for assignment by the Brewers earlier this week, Conrad had the choice of becoming a free agent had he cleared waivers, or accepting the assignment with Triple-A Nashville.

Despite hitting .405 in two stints at Nashville, Conrad struggled in the big leagues, batting .075 with two home runs in two stints with the Brewers.

Phillies: Pair to represent Phils in Futures Game
Double-A Reading right-handers Lisalverto Bonilla and Julio Rodriguez will play for the World Team in the All-Star Futures Game next month in Kansas City. ranked Bonilla the organization's 12th-best prospect in February; Rodriguez is ranked 15th.

Bonilla is 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA in 25 relief appearances this season between Class A Clearwater and Reading. He has allowed 27 hits, eight earned runs and 14 walks, and has struck out 51 batters in 37 innings. Rodriguez is 4-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 13 starts with Reading. He has allowed 59 hits, 23 earned runs and 34 walks, and has struck out 71 batters in 73 2/3 innings.

Worth noting
• Of the Phillies' last 11 home runs, seven have come with men on base. Four have been three-run homers, and the other three have been two-run blasts.

• Since posting a season-best four straight wins at home from May 13-18, the Phillies are 4-11 at Citizens Bank Park.

• The series against Philadelphia will mark the first games Tampa Bay has played an opponent with a losing record since May 26 vs. Boston. Comments