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PHI@NYM: Lee fans nine, notches first win of 2012

After their first win of the season when trailing after seven innings, the Phillies hope to keep it rolling on Wednesday.

In a matchup of two former Cy Young Award winners, Philadelphia (41-51) sends Cliff Lee to the mound as it goes for a sweep of the Dodgers (48-44) and a fifth consecutive victory.

Lee (1-6, 3.92 ERA) has had a season that's been hard to figure out. Often regarded as one of the best in the game, the left-hander didn't get his first 2012 win until July 4, his 14th start of the year. He's suffered from poor run support in some of his outings but also struggled at times.

Opposing Lee and the Phillies will be Clayton Kershaw, the 2011 National League Cy Young Award winner (Lee was third in last year's voting behind teammate Roy Halladay). Kershaw, an All-Star for the second straight year, has not fared well against Philadelphia in his career, posting an 0-4 record with a 4.95 ERA in seven regular-season starts.

"I think it just happens that way," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of the Dodgers' southpaw. "He usually pitches pretty good. It's not like we jump on him and crush him."

In his last start, a loss against the Rockies, Lee surrendered three runs (two earned) over six innings. Kershaw is coming off a start in which he allowed one run over six innings in a victory against the Padres.

"It was a battle," Kershaw said afterward. "I threw a lot of pitches and only could make it through six and you never want to just go six innings, but Mark [Ellis] had a huge hit and our bullpen shut it down. It was a good team win."

Phillies: Utley and Howard play back-to-back days
Could Chase Utley and Ryan Howard be in the lineup for a third straight game on Wednesday?

Utley, Howard and Placido Polanco started twice in a row for the first time this season in the first two games of the series. Utley and Howard, who both recently returned from the disabled list, have been given frequent days off. Howard has yet to play three days in a row and Utley has done so just once, in the series leading to the All-Star break.

"I'll do something," Manuel said before Tuesday's game.

Since returning on June 27, Utley is hitting .224 with two homers and seven RBIs in 14 games. Howard, who didn't return until July 6, is hitting .143 (3-for-21) with a homer and an RBI in seven games.

• In his first start since May 27, Halladay allowed two runs on five hits over five innings. The right-hander, who was on the disabled list for seven weeks with a strained right lat, struck out six and walked none.

• With Halladay's activation on Tuesday, right-handed reliever Brian Sanches was optioned back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Sanches is 0-1 with a 9.95 ERA in six appearances with the Phillies in 2012.

Dodgers: Billingsley lands on DL
The elbow inflammation that caused Chad Billingsley to miss his last start has forced him to the 15-day disabled list. On Tuesday, the Dodgers placed the right-hander on the DL with an inflamed elbow flexor tendon.

The move is retroactive to July 8, so Billingsley (4-9, 4.30 ERA) will be able to return Monday. He will likely start then, meaning he will miss only one outing.

Originally slated to start on Sunday, Billingsley was scratched and underwent two MRIs over the last couple days.

"You say something the night before you pitch and it sends us into cautious mode," manager Don Mattingly said on Tuesday. "We already have one of our starters [Ted Lilly] on the DL.

"We couldn't send him out there without getting it looked at."

After taking the next couple days off, Billingsley is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Friday.

• Stephen Fife was promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque to start on Tuesday night when Billingsley was placed on the DL. In his Major League debut, Fife allowed just one run on four hits in six innings. He was 7-5 with a 4.53 in Triple-A.

• Reliever Todd Coffey was set to undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, his second such surgery in his career. Coffey, who was 1-0 with a 4.66 ERA in 23 games, will miss the rest of this season.

Worth noting
• After recording six strikeouts on Tuesday, Halladay needs just four more to reach 2,000 for his career. Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia and Kevin Millwood, a former Phillie, are the only three active players with at least 2,000 career punchouts.

• Since coming off the DL on Friday, Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier is 7-for-18 (.389) with a homer and five RBIs.

• Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino needs just five hits to reach 1,000 for his career. Comments