PHILADELPHIA – Cliff Lee was almost unhittable.
The four batters who did get hits off him did enough damage to overshadow Lee's 16 strikeouts, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 Friday night.
"It's neat, but we lost the game so who cares?" Lee said.
Lee's total was one off the franchise record and four from the big league mark of 20 for a nine-inning game.
Derek Lowe overshadowed Lee all night, anyway, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning before leaving due to a blister on his right foot, and the Braves won their sixth straight game.
"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."
Philadelphia managed just two hits all night, both off Lowe (3-3).
The last Phillies pitcher to have 16 strikeouts in a game was Curt Schilling, who did it on Sept. 1, 1997, against the Yankees. Philadelphia's Chris Short struck out 18 on Oct. 2, 1965, against the Mets, though it was in 15 innings of an 18-inning game.
"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 he game."
The Braves scored three two-out runs in the third on four straight hard-hit balls off Lee (2-3). Alex Gonzalez doubled off the top of the wall in left and scored on Chipper Jones' line single to left that went off the glove of a leaping Jimmy Rollins at shortstop.
Asked if he thought Rollins could have caught the ball, Manuel said, "(Jones) hit it pretty good."
Jones scored on Brian McCann's double off the wall in left-center, and McCann came around on Dan Uggla's double down the left-field line.
"They were aggressive and I made some mistakes over the plate," Lee said. "It happened pretty quick. All it takes is one bad inning and you can lose a game, and that was the case."
Lee struck out 12 of the next 16 batters before being lifted for left-hander J.C. Romero at the start of the eighth.
Shane Victorino singled to start the seventh for the first hit off Lowe, and Placido Polanco followed with a double before Lowe left.
"That's about as mad as I've ever been for pitching good," Lowe 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."
Lowe struck out four and walked one.
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.
"O'Flaherty was unbelievable," Lowe said. "I figured it would be a 3-2 game. Our bullpen has been our strength all year."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he expects Lowe will make his next start.
McCann had a pair of doubles and an RBI, and Gonzalez had three hits and an RBI for the Braves.
The Braves' 18 strikeouts tied a club record for a nine-inning game. The last time it happened was May 22, 2006, at San Diego.
Philadelphia's Raul Ibanez, who was 8 for 11 entering the game after snapping an 0 for 35 skid on Tuesday, went 0 for 3.
Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt was placed on the disabled list retroactive to April 27 following Friday<s game due to a back injury.
Oswalt returned to the Phillies on Thursday after spending eight days with his family in tornado-ravaged Mississippi. RHP Kyle Kendrick will start for Philadelphia on Saturday in place of Oswalt. The Phillies recalled RHP Scott Mathieson from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Oswalt's place on the roster.
NOTES: Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before the game that 2B Chase Utley would begin an extended spring training assignment Saturday in Dunedin, Fla. Utley has been out all season with right knee tendinitis. ... Kendrick will be opposed by right-hander Julio Teheran, the top prospect in Atlanta's system, who will make his major league debut. Right-hander Jair Jurrjens, originally listed as Saturday's starter, is being pushed back to Sunday.
(This version corrects that Lee was four short of big league record for 9-inning game)