Cliff Lee almost went through the month of June without allowing a run. He's off to a good start in his attempt to accomplish that feat in August.
After two straight scoreless outings, the left-hander looks to win a fourth straight start Wednesday night as the host Philadelphia Phillies try to prevent the Arizona Diamondbacks from winning eight in a row for the first time in more than three years.
Lee (12-7, 2.83 ERA) allowed one run while winning all five June starts, including shutouts in his final three of the month, but he went 1-2 with a 4.91 ERA in five July outings. Lee, however, won his final start of last month and has thrown 17 scoreless innings while winning his first two August outings.
"Joe DiMaggio was streaky for 56 games," manager Charlie Manuel told the Phillies' official website. "(Atlanta's Dan) Uggla (was) streaky. That's the way it goes sometimes."
In his last start, Lee allowed four hits and struck out 10 over eight innings in a 2-1 win at Los Angeles last Tuesday. He also hit a home run to become the first Phillies pitcher since Randy Wolf in 2004 to homer twice in the same season.
"Anytime I do something with the bat - hitting a home run or getting a bunt down - it leads to positive things for the team," said Lee, batting .300 with seven RBIs in his last 18 games.
The NL-best Phillies (78-42) were in position to take Tuesday's series opener of this potential postseason preview, but Roy Halladay allowed a two-run double to Diamondbacks newcomer Lyle Overbay in the ninth of a 3-2 loss. Chase Utley had three hits and Shane Victorino hit a two-run homer as Philadelphia lost for the third time in 16 games.
Playing his second game since Arizona acquired him after being waived by Pittsburgh last week, Overbay had three hits and drove in all three runs to help the Diamondbacks (69-53) increase their NL West lead to 3 1/2 games over San Francisco.
"It's a good situation (being in Arizona)," said Overbay, who broke in with Arizona from 2001-03. "I couldn't ask for anything better."
Arizona, which has 35 comeback victories this season, is riding its second seven-game winning streak of the season but hasn't won eight in a row since April 4-12, 2008.
"These guys have composure when we're behind," manager Kirk Gibson said. "These guys are a quick strike team."
Overbay is batting .232 this season but .421 (8 for 19) with six RBIs in his last six games against the Phillies. He's a career .308 hitter versus Lee.
Scheduled Arizona starter Joe Saunders (8-9, 3.76) allowed six runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-4 loss to Philadelphia on April 27.
The left-hander was not much better Thursday when he gave up five runs and 11 hits in six innings of an 8-5, 10-inning win over Houston. He had yielded three earned runs or fewer in each of his previous 10 starts.
Utley has never faced Saunders, but he's hit .394 with 14 RBIs in 16 career home games versus Arizona. Victorino is 10 for 25 with two homers in his last six games overall and 2 for 6 with a home run against Saunders.