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Phils, Worley eye sweep of Reds

The Philadelphia Phillies have a decent chance at a four- game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds when they send young pitcher Vance Worley to the mound this afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

The Phillies have prevailed in each of Worley's last 12 starts, with the right-hander going 7-0 with a 2.30 earned run average in that stretch. It's the longest run for the team since winning 15 straight starts for lefty Steve Carlton in 1972. Worley shut down the New York Mets in last Tuesday's 9-4 win at Citizens Bank Park and tossed seven innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts to just one walk.

Worley improved to 9-1 in 18 games (16 starts) this season and lowered his ERA to 2.65 in the process. He faced the Reds for the first time in his career in a 6-3 loss on May 24 this season and did not factor in the outcome with five innings of three-run ball. Worley is 4-1 in nine road appearances, seven of which have been starts.

Philadelphia has been solid on the road as well and won for the 15th time in its last 18 away games, improving to a National League best 40-24 on the road this season. Cliff Lee helped the NL East-leading Phillies to their ninth road series win in 10 tries last night with 8 2/3 shutout innings in a 3-0 victory. Lee pushed his record to 15-7 with a 2.59 ERA and finished August a 5-0 with a 0.45 ERA, allowing two runs in 39 2/3 innings.

Lee also went 5-0 with a 0.21 ERA in June.

"I had a good changeup working tonight. I was working ahead in the count for the most part," Lee said.

Hunter Pence homered and Carlos Ruiz added three hits for the Phillies, who are 7 1/2 games ahead of the Braves in the division and have won all seven of their four-game series this season. Ryan Howard needs one home run for his sixth consecutive 30-homer, 100-RBI season.

The Phillies will visit Florida for three games after this set.

Cincinnati has lost three in a row after a four-game winning streak. Drew Stubbs had a team-best two hits last night and Dontrelle Willis was saddled with the loss for allowing three runs and five hits in 6 2/3 frames.

"Willis kept us off-balance," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of the D- Train. "He threw some changeups. We couldn't handle him. The game was a little bit harder than it looked. We were having a hard time scoring off him."

Reds starter Mike Leake hopes to do the same but garner different results when he takes the ball for Thursday's matinee. Leake has won three of his last five decisions and defeated Washington in Saturday's 6-3 triumph with six innings of two-run ball. He is 11-8 in 26 games (23 starts) with a 4.04 ERA.

Leake, a right-hander, has pitched well at home this season, going 8-4 in 14 games, 13 of which have been starts, and has no record with a 6.91 ERA in two career starts against the Phillies.

The Phillies have won five straight and 20 of their last 26 games against the Reds. They swept Cincinnati in a four-game series from July 8-11, 2010 at Citizens Bank Park, while three of those games went into extra innings.