If it weren't for five Cliff Lee pitches, the outcome of this game might have been different.
The Braves exploited an opening against Lee in the third inning and held on to win 5-0 despite 16 strikeouts from the Phillies lefty. Lee's opposition, Derek Lowe, pitched no-hit baseball for six innings before departing in the seventh with what everyone assumed was a leg injury, but was not as serious as expected.
The third inning started out commonly enough for Lee with a pair of strikeouts, but in the span of five pitches, Alex Gonzalez doubled, Chipper Jones singled, scoring Gonzalez, Brian McCann doubled, scoring Chipper all the way from first, and Dan Uggla doubled to score McCann.
Outside of the third inning, Lee was dominant. He struck out Chipper and Uggla with two on in the first inning and struck out the side in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings along with his three strikeouts in the third. Lee's 16 strikeouts set a new career high, but he also allowed nine hits in his seven innings of work.
Derek Lowe meanwhile, pitched beautifully. He induced eight groundouts and the only hitter to reach base in six innings was Ben Francisco with a second-inning walk. However, Lowe gave Braves fans a scare in the seventh. He led off the seventh with a single, but came up limping as he reached first. The aggravation followed him to the mound in the bottom of the seventh. Lowe, with a no-hitter on the line, served up a leadoff single to Shane Victorino and following a mound conference, surrendered a ground-rule double to Placido Polanco.
The double meant the end of the game for Lowe, and Fredi Gonzalez opted for Eric O'Flaherty to face the middle of the Phillies order. O'Flaherty responded by striking out Ryan Howard, Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez in order - all swinging - to nullify the Phillies threat and crush any hope of a comeback.
The Braves tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth to ensure their sixth straight victory.
After the game, Lowe's ailment turned out to be nothing more serious than a blister on his foot.
Teheran vs. Kendrick on Saturday.