WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cliff Lee pitched a complete game, three-hit shutout to help lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-0 road victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday.

"I was pretty much putting the ball where I wanted to most of the time," Lee told reporters after giving up the hits in the third, fifth and ninth innings.

"It looks like he got sharper as the game went on," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "He was good early, but he got better and better."

Carlos Ruiz opened the scoring with a solo home run to lead off the sixth inning, breaking up a no-hitter by Washington pitcher Jordan Zimmermann.

"It's a curveball I left up a little bit," Zimmermann said of the hit. "It was really the only mistake I made all night.

Philadelphia added another run later in the inning on an RBI single by Placido Polanco that drove in Shane Victorino, who had reached second base on a two-out double.

Philadelphia scored two more unearned runs in the eighth inning, capitalizing on a fielding error by Washington second baseman Danny Espinosa.

Espinosa misplayed a ground ball from Lee to load the bases with no outs. Ruiz and Wilson Valdez came in to score on a fielder's choice and an RBI single by Jimmy Rollins.

Lee struck out 12 batters and walked one for his second win of the season. Zimmerman gave up four runs, only one earned, on five hits and struck out four.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by John O'Brien)