PHILADELPHIA – Cliff Lee dominated the Dodgers, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth provided the big swings early and the Philadelphia Phillies cruised past Los Angeles 11-0 Sunday night for a 2-1 lead in the NL championship series.
Lee provided another brilliant playoff start, striking out 10 and allowing only three hits in eight innings.
Howard hustled for a triple, Werth homered and the Phillies led 6-0 by the second inning. Howard made two headfirst dives during the romp — the big slugger has an RBI in all seven of Philadelphia's playoff games this year, a record streak in a single postseason.
Coming off the most-lopsided win in their postseason history, the defending World Series champion Phillies will try to move closer to a return in Game 4 Monday night. Joe Blanton starts against the Dodgers' Randy Wolf, who hasn't pitched since the opener of the division series against St. Louis.
Howard had three RBIs, including his two-run triple in the first. Werth followed that with a two-run homer, and that was more than enough for Lee.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner faced just two batters over the minimum. Lee gave up a pair of singles to Manny Ramirez and one to Ronnie Belliard.
Lee hit a single in the eighth and scored on Shane Victorino's three-run homer. Chad Durbin relieved to begin the ninth and pitched a hitless inning.
Lee is 2-0 with an 0.74 ERA in three postseason starts, giving the Phillies exactly what they expected when they acquired him from Cleveland in late July.
After wasting a brilliant performance by Pedro Martinez in Game 2, the Phillies jumped on Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda right from the start.
On a brisk 46-degree night — almost half the temperature at Dodger Stadium for Game 3 Friday — Philadelphia's hitters had no trouble swinging hot bats. Every starter except Raul Ibanez had a hit and all nine starters scored a run.
Victorino's home run to deep right field put an emphatic exclamation mark on the rout. The shot also made the Phillies the city's highest-scoring team of the day — the Eagles lost 13-9 to the Oakland Raiders.
Making his first start in 20 days, Kuroda only got four outs. He allowed six runs and six hits. Dodgers manager Joe Torre chose Kuroda over Chad Billingsley even though Kuroda was unavailable for the first-round series against St. Louis because of a herniation in his cervical spine.
A sellout crowd of 45,721 made Kuroda uncomfortable from the start. Fans waved their "Fightin' Phils" rally towels and chanted "Beat LA! Beat LA!" even before the first pitch was thrown.
Ramirez got an earful, too. Fans screamed "You took steroids!" before he struck out in the seventh inning.
Victorino, who exchanged words with Kuroda in the NLCS last year after a fastball buzzed his head, got things started in the first. Victorino singled with one out and stole second. Chase Utley followed with a single. Howard then ripped a liner into the right-field corner to score both runners. The 255-pound slugger chugged around the bases and dove headfirst into the third for his first career postseason triple.
Werth made it 4-0 with a long drive that landed in the shrubs in almost straightaway center.
Carlos Ruiz started the second with a double and scored on Jimmy Rollins' one-out double that chased Kuroda. Scott Elbert came in and walked Victorino and Utley. Howard's RBI dribbler put the Phillies up 6-0. Howard dove headfirst into first on that play, too, trying to avoid the tag.
When the Phillies were in the field, all eyes were on Utley after he committed two costly throwing errors on double-play balls in the first two games. Utley bounced his first throw to first base, but Howard made the scoop. But he made a couple routine throws later and drew some cheers.
NOTES: Howard extended his postseason streak of reaching base to 16 games. ... Former Phillies Vicente Padilla and Randy Wolf were booed during NLCS introductions. Former shortstop and manager Larry Bowa received a mixed reaction and there was a nice ovation for former slugging first baseman Jim Thome.