Cliff Lee reminded his former teammates what they're missing.
Lee (3-4) allowed five hits and struck out 10 to earn his first win since April 14. The lefty helped the Rangers capture the first AL pennant in franchise history after joining them last July. But he turned down more money from Texas and the New York Yankees to return to Philadelphia, signing a $120 million, five-year deal.
"He did a real good job of people not getting to third base," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He made good pitches when he had to."
Rangers starter Colby Lewis (4-5) gave up two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings. He didn't get any support from a struggling offense that's scored only 11 runs in the last five games. Texas is 1-4 in that span.
"Offensively, we're not where we want to be and it shows," Ian Kinsler said.
Howard snapped a career-worst 0-for-23 slump when he connected to give the NL East-leading Phillies a 1-0 lead in the second. He ripped a 1-1 fastball a few rows deep in right.
That's all Lee needed. Ryan Madson finished for his ninth save in as many tries.
Fans and everyone in Philadelphia's dugout had a scare in the third when Lewis led off with a liner off Lee's back. The ball caromed to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who threw out Lewis. In his typically nonchalant style, Lee waved off the trainer when he ran out to the mound and didn't even take a warmup pitch.
Lee was back to himself with excellent command after walking a career-high six batters in his last start. He struck out the side on 10 pitches in the fifth and walked two.
"It's a little different when you pitch against a team you just played with," Lee said. "It wasn't off-the-charts different."
John Mayberry Jr. hit an RBI single with two outs in the sixth for a 2-0 lead. Lewis ran into trouble after striking out Placido Polanco and Howard. He walked Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz before Mayberry lined a hit to left.
Lee hasn't received much run support lately. The Phillies scored 11 runs in his previous six starts.
He tried to help his own cause with a two-out single that kept the fifth going. Lee then swiped second for his first career steal. After Rollins was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Domonic Brown flied out to end the inning.
Lee began last season with Seattle after the Phillies traded him on the same day they acquired Roy Halladay from Toronto in December 2009. He was dealt from the Mariners to the Rangers before the All-Star break and went 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA in 15 starts for Texas. Lee was dominant in the first two rounds of the postseason, going 3-0 with an 0.75 ERA to help the Rangers beat Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees.
Lee entered the World Series with a 7-0 record and a 1.26 ERA in eight postseason starts before losing twice to the San Francisco Giants, who beat Texas in five games.
NOTES: Rangers manager Ron Washington said AL MVP Josh Hamilton will DH when he returns from the disabled list. Hamilton (shoulder) and OF Nelson Cruz (quad) continued their rehab stints at Triple-A Round Rock, and could return Monday. ... A crowd of 45,604 was the 160th straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park, including postseason play. ... Kinsler snapped an 0-for-18 skid with a single in the sixth. ... It was Lee's 14th career double-digit strikeout game.