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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, May 15th (All times Eastern)

Houston Astros (15-20) at Philadelphia Phillies (17-19), 1:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - Jordan Lyles (0-1, 4.50) Philadelphia - Cliff Lee (0-1, 2.17)

(Sports Network) - Still in search of his first win of the 2012 season, Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee will try to pitch the club past the Houston Astros today in the conclusion of a quick two-game series.

Lee is 0-1 with a 2.17 earned run average in four starts and spent some time on the disabled list with an oblique strain before returning to action in last Wednesday's 10-6 loss to the New York Mets. Lee did his part by holding the Mets to two runs and five hits in six innings, but the bullpen imploded.

The southpaw has lasted at least six innings in each of his starts this season, but is 0-1 in two trips to the Citizens Bank Park mound. Lee has made three career starts against Houston, going 1-2 with a 6.89 ERA.

Philadelphia hopes Lee can duplicate what Joe Blanton did in Monday's 5-1 win in the series opener. Blanton held the Astros to a run and six hits in seven innings for the win and struck out seven batters. He allowed one walk to push his record to 4-3 on the season. Antonio Bastardo, Chad Qualls and Jonathan Papelbon kept Houston off the board the rest of the way.

Freddy Galvis had three hits and two RBI, Carlos Ruiz ended 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI and Placido Polanco became the 17th active player to reach 2,000 career hits with a two-run homer. Polanco also scored three runs.

"I knew I hit it good. I thought it would drop somewhere," Polanco said of his home run in the eighth inning.

The Phillies have won three of four games since getting swept by the New York Mets and have yet to record three wins in a row this season. They will visit the Chicago Cubs for two games after this set.

Houston has lost three straight and six of its last eight games.

Astros starter Lucas Harrell took the loss after surrendering three runs -- two earned -- on five hits in 5 2/3 frames. Carlos Lee went 3-for-4 and Marwin Gonzalez added a pinch-hit homer for the Astros, who went hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position and couldn't solve Blanton.

"He threw the ball well," Astros manager Brad Mills said of Blanton. "It seemed like he was able to throw the breaking ball when he wanted to, and he was spotting his fastball. When you're able to do that, you're going to have a good night, and that's what he did."

After today's game the Astros will return to Space City for an eight-game homestand versus the Brewers, Rangers and Cubs.

Taking the mound Tuesday for Houston could be Jordan Lyles. Lyles, who is on schedule to start on Tuesday for Triple-A Oklahoma City, made one start this season in a 6-5 loss at Cincinnati on April 29 and did not figure into the decision. He allowed three runs in six innings with five strikeouts and three walks, and has a 4.50 ERA.

The right-hander has never faced the Phillies.

The Astros and Phillies are meeting for the first time this season, and Philly won four of six matchups a year ago. The Phils swept a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park last April 1-3.

05/15 10:42:20 ET