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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, September 10th (All times Eastern)

Philadelphia Phillies (93-48) at Milwaukee Brewers (85-61), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Cliff Lee (16-7, 2.47) Milwaukee - Randy Wolf (12-9, 3.47)

(Sports Network) - The Brewers entered this weekend's series with the Phillies leading the majors with 50 home wins. Through two games, they still have 50 thanks to being shut down by Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay.

Now it's Cliff Lee's turn.

The Phillies enter tonight's third test of four with a magic number of three to secure a playoff spot and nine to win the NL East for a fifth straight year.

Philadelphia turns its attention to a lefty who has won his seven consecutive starts and has thrown 29 2/3 straight shutout innings. Lee's ERA is 0.37 during the winning streak, which is his longest since winning eight consecutive starts between the Indians and Phillies from July 16-August 24, 2009 (8-0, 0.97 ERA).

Lee has tossed a major league-leading six shutouts in his 28 starts this season. He had only thrown five of them in his 218 career starts prior to this season (2002-10). Incredibly, all 11 of his shutouts have come since the beginning of the 2008 season.

As for the scoreless stretch, he's already had a career-high 34-inning stretch earlier this year, which was the second-longest streak in Phillies history. Grover Alexander holds the record with 41 innings in 1911.

Lee, who hasn't lost since July 25, threw six innings vs. Milwaukee on April 20 in a no-decision. He blanked Atlanta on Monday.

Countering for Milwaukee will be ex-Phillie Randy Wolf, who has just one defeat in his last eight starts. The lefty threw eight innings of one-run ball in a win at St. Louis on Monday and is 3-2 in six career games vs. Philadelphia. That includes a 9-0 victory in his only start this season on April 19 at Citizens Bank Park.

Last night, Ryan Howard hit a three-run homer and Halladay pitched eight strong innings, as the Phillies held on for a 5-3 win. Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez had an RBI apiece for Philadelphia, which has won five in a row.

"It's always important to get him (Halladay) off to a good start," Howard said. "Roy was classic Roy tonight."

Yuniesky Betancourt drove in two runs for the NL Central-leading Brewers, who have lost four straight games and sit seven ahead of the Cardinals in the division.

Shaun Marcum (12-6) gave up five runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings to take the loss. He walked four and struck out two.

"You don't get many chances off Halladay," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "When we had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth, that was our shot."

Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel earned his 637th victory with the Phillies to move ahead of Harry Wright for second on the club's all-time list. He is eight shy of Gene Mauch (645 wins from 1960-68).

The Phillies have won nine of the past 12 games in this series.

09/10 10:48:24 ET

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