PHILADELPHIA — Derek Lowe knew he wasn’t going to last long enough to finish a no-hitter.
The sinkerballer was pulled due to a blister on his right foot after allowing his first two hits in the seventh inning, but the Atlanta Braves overcame Cliff Lee’s 16 strikeouts to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 on Friday night for their sixth straight victory.
“I knew it wouldn’t be happening,” Lowe said of a possible no-hitter. “I knew it would come to an abrupt end. I’m disappointed in my skin.”
Shane Victorino singled to start the seventh for the first hit off Lowe, and Placido Polanco followed with a double. The right-hander then came out of the game.
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Lowe (3-3) said the blister started to bother him in the fifth.
“That’s about as mad as I’ve ever been for pitching good,” he said. “It’s frustrating for not being able to stay in. But a 5-0 win in this ballpark against a talented team, we’ll take it.”
Brian McCann had a pair of doubles and an RBI, and Alex Gonzalez had three hits and an RBI for the Braves.
Lee (2-3) set the major league high for strikeouts this season, coming within one of the franchise record. The big-league mark for a nine-inning game is 20.
“I’m not too worried about the strikeouts. That’s just another way to get the hitter out,” Lee said. “It’s a nice accomplishment, I guess, but we still lost the game.”
Trailing 3-0, Lee was pulled after throwing 117 pitches, 87 strikes, in seven innings.
Braves batters finished with 18 strikeouts, tying a club record for a nine-inning game. The last time it happened was May 22, 2006, at San Diego.
Lowe, who threw 97 pitches, limped off the mound after striking out four and walking one.
Despite not allowing a hit to that point, the Braves had relievers warming up in the bullpen at the start of the seventh. Facing Victorino to open the inning, Lowe got two strikes on the Philadelphia batter when he trotted off the mound toward second base, apparently trying to walk off his injury. Victorino broke up the no-hit bid with a clean single to left on the next pitch.
Atlanta trainers visited the mound before Philadelphia’s next batter, Polanco, and manager Fredi Gonzalez lifted Lowe after Polanco doubled to center to put runners on second and third.
Left-hander Eric O’Flaherty came on in relief and struck out the side to end the threat. Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel each worked an inning to complete the two-hitter.
Lee became the first Phillies pitcher to have 16 strikeouts in a game since Curt Schilling did it on Sept. 1, 1997, against the New York Yankees.