Lee hopes to give Phils a lift against Mets

Cliff Lee tries to follow up a terrific first start on Tuesday when the Philadelphia Phillies resume a three-game set with the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park.

Lee beat the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings. He also struck out eight without walking a batter. Of course, Lee didn't pick up his first win last season until July 4.

"Last year, I got the first win on the Fourth of July," Lee said. "It's nice to get it out of the way on the first one, no doubt."

Lee's start was an aberration for Philadelphia's staff, which is pitching to a 7.08 ERA thus far.

"I think it's early, but I'm concerned about our pitching," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "I still think we're going to score some runs. When we get Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young in the lineup, we're definitely going to score some runs. Right now, we've got to work through the problem we're having with our pitching.

"Our starting pitching definitely has to get better for us to win some games."

Starting pitching was certainly a concern in Monday's opener, as Roy Halladay was roughed up for seven runs and the Mets cruised to a 7-2 win.

While Halladay's struggles continued, Matt Harvey dazzled with nine strikeouts. Much like his first start, Harvey sliced through the opposition's batting order and yielded just one run on three hits over seven innings of work.

He became just the second Mets pitcher to produce those statistics in consecutive starts to begin a season. The only other to accomplish the feat was Nolan Ryan.

John Buck continued his torrid start, contributing a three-run homer. Ruben Tejada drove in a pair, while David Wright and Lucas Duda had an RBI apiece in New York's third straight win.

Halladay (0-2) was ineffective for the second straight start, as he surrendered seven runs on six hits over four-plus frames in a loss that ended his eight-game winning streak against New York.

"It's important to get ahead and attack and I have a lot of 2-0 counts, a lot of high pitch counts," said Halladay. "You know, I thought I made some good pitches, but they were getting hit."

Heading to the hill for New York on Tuesday will be righty Dillon Gee, who suffered a hard-luck loss to the San Diego Padres on Thursday. Gee only allowed a run and three hits in 6 1/3 innings of that one, but still absorbed the loss.

Gee is 2-1 in six games (5 starts) versus the Phillies with a 6.46 ERA.

The Mets won seven of their nine games in Philadelphia last season.