Cardinals 3, Phillies 1

BY foxsports • May 17, 2011

After issuing a career-high six walks, Cliff Lee was unhappy about the strike zone.

Lee is winless in six starts after the Philadelphia Phillies' 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.

The left-hander departed after 122 pitches in 6 1-3 innings and wasn't happy about home plate umpire Gerry Davis' calls.

''Cliff didn't say a whole lot tonight and usually he doesn't say nothing,'' manager Charlie Manuel said. ''But he said, 'I'm throwing a lot of strikes. That's all he said.''

Lee (2-4) entered averaging 1.2 walks per nine innings, best in the National League, and walked no more than two in any of his previous eight starts this year. He wasn't hit hard, allowing six singles that were well-placed, and the Cardinals left the bases loaded in the first and fourth.

Ryan Theriot, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman walked twice apiece off Lee, helping the Cardinals rebound after getting swept at Cincinnati.

Holliday and Berkman drew full-count walks to start the fourth and both scored on singles by Nick Punto and Theriot, the latter for a 2-1 lead. Jon Jay's RBI single chased Lee in the seventh.

''It's my job to throw pitches. I felt like I threw strikes and he felt like they were balls, and there's nothing I can do about that,'' Lee said. ''I don't want to sit here and make excuses.

''They made me throw a lot of pitches and drew a lot of walks. I'm typically not a guy that walks a lot of guys, but for whatever reason today that happened.''

Lee's previous high was five walks on four occasions, the last time on Sept. 19, 2006. He had only one three-walk game last season.

''He knew we were bearing down,'' Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. ''All I can say is maybe he was just too strong.''

Jake Westbrook allowed a run in seven innings and the St. Louis Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak in La Russa's first game back from illness. Fernando Salas worked the ninth for his fourth save in four chances.

The Phillies totaled four hits and had only three runners in scoring position against Westbrook (3-3).

''It's not my job to worry about runs scored and stuff like that,'' Lee said. ''I'm more focused on preventing the other team from scoring. I'm going to keep focusing on that.''

Jimmy Rollins had two of the Phillies' five hits. Philadelphia (25-15) has the best record in the NL, but has totaled six runs in a three-game losing streak. The Phillies fielded a lineup minus Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco.

''We haven't been hitting the ball for quite a while,'' Manuel said. ''But at the same time we've been getting hits in those close games when our pitchers were pitching close games.''

The 66-year-old La Russa was back on the job after missing a six-game trip while getting treated for shingles, during which St. Louis went 2-4. His first lineup card, revised a couple of hours before game-time for better defense against a team that has four left-handed hitters, featured three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols at third base for the first time since Sept. 23, 2002.

Pujols started 89 games at third base in 2001-02, his first two seasons, but this was his first start other than first base or designated hitter since 2004. He bobbled a potential double play ball in the second and the Phillies ended up scoring on Ben Francisco's RBI single, but otherwise looked comfortable and started a double play on John Mayberry's grounder in the sixth.

Francisco ended a 12-game RBI drought dating to April 29.

NOTES: Holliday misjudged Punto's single on a flare to right with the bases loaded in the fourth and narrowly beat a throw to the plate on a potential force. ... Victorino missed his second straight game and Polanco didn't start due to a 4-for-22 slump, then struck out looking as a pinch hitter in the eighth and finished at third base. ... Ryan Howard walked in his first three at-bats. ... Theriot was 2 for 2 with two walks against Lee. He entered 2 for 11 against the lefty. ... Ross Gload singled in the eighth for his seventh pinch hit of the season. He entered the game tied for the major league lead.