Lee gives Phillies another gem

philadelphia – Cliff Lee keeps finding ways to outdo his previous performance.

Lee pitched a two-hitter, carrying a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 8-1, Wednesday night.

“I don’t know how special it is,” Lee said about his latest stellar effort. “It’s me doing what I expect to do every time I go out to the mound. I expect to put up a zero every inning.”

Jayson Werth hit a pair of solo homers, Ryan Howard hit a three-run shot, and Chase Utley also connected for the NL East-leading Phillies, who’ve won seven of eight. Philadelphia is a season-high 19 games over .500 at 68-49.

Lee (4-0) allowed an unearned run and tied a career high with 11 strikeouts to record his 12th career complete game and fifth this season. The left-hander had no walks, although he hit one batter. Lee has been nearly unhittable since coming to the Phillies in a blockbuster trade with Cleveland last month. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner has an 0.82 ERA and two complete games in four starts for his new team.

“Lee dominated us all night,” Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch said. “He was filling up the strike zone with good stuff.”

Lee didn’t allow a hit until pinch-hitter Chad Tracy lined a single to center with one out in the sixth. In his debut with the Phillies on July 31, Lee had a no-hit bid broken up at the same point by San Francisco’s Juan Uribe.

The Phillies roughed up All-Star right-hander Dan Haren (12-8), who had his worst outing of the year – a season-high six runs in five innings.

Utley put the Phillies ahead 2-0 when he connected in the third. After Shane Victorino walked, Utley drove Haren’s next pitch into Philadelphia’s bullpen in right-center field for his 25th homer.

Howard ripped an opposite-field shot to left-center to make it 5-1 in the fifth. It was his 31st homer and fifth in six games.

“I almost put Howard away, one pitch away,” Haren said. “But I tried to go up and away with a fastball and he made me pay for it.”

Werth crushed the next pitch off the ivy covering the brick batter’s eye beyond the center-field wall. Werth took reliever Juan Gutierrez deep to right in the seventh.

The Phillies now have four players with at least 25 homers: Howard, Werth (27), Raul Ibañez (27) and Utley.