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PHI@ATL: Lee brilliant in seven shutout frames in win

By winning his second consecutive start on Saturday, Cliff Lee accomplished a feat normally reserved for April or May.

Hoping the bad fortune is behind him, Lee (4-7, 3.52 ERA) will take the mound for Friday's series opener against the Rockies aiming for another victory.

"To me, what happened has happened," Lee said after Saturday's win over the Braves, a game that he left after seven scoreless innings with a cramp in his left hamstring. "The only thing I can control is today and preparation. What can I do today to prepare for tomorrow? What's done is done. I'm just going to continue to focus on my routine and get ready for my next start, and go out there and try to execute pitches and be successful."

Over his last four starts, Lee has compiled a 1.91 ERA (six earned runs in 28 1/3 innings), while striking out 31 and walking only two.

The Phillies (66-71) are also playing better all-around baseball as of late, winning nine of their last 13 games. Reaching the playoffs remains a long shot -- they're eight games out of a Wild Card spot -- but finishing with a winning record is an attainable goal for the club that struggled its way through the first half of 2012.

"You just want to win every game you can, every possible game," third baseman Kevin Frandsen said. "You don't look ahead, you look at today. You've got to win today before you can get to tomorrow."

The Rockies, who lost back-to-back 1-0 games to the Braves to end their mid-week series, will counter on Friday with Jeff Francis (5-4, 5.73 ERA), who pitched well at Citizens Bank Park on June 21. The veteran left-hander struggled in his last outing against the Padres, however, allowing six runs (five earned) on 10 hits in just 3 2/3 innings.

"They hit some mistakes," Francis said of the Padres after that game. "But the one that knocked me out of the game, the at-bat to [Chase Headley], I was battling hard and he was waiting for me to put one in the middle and jumped at it."

Rockies: Tulowitzki working his way back
Troy Tulowitzki continued his rehab assignment on Wednesday, playing five innings for Double-A Tulsa. He is expected to play seven innings on Thursday night.

Still recovering from June 21 surgery to remove scar tissue from a nerve in his left groin area, Tulowitzki's road back to the Majors may largely be determined by the playoff schedules of the Rockies' Minor League affiliates.

The two-time All-Star shortstop has not played a Major League game since May 30.

• Jorge De La Rosa, recovering from Tommy John surgery, made a rehab appearance for for Rookie-level Grand Junction on Wednesday. He allowed three hits and struck out five in three scoreless innings.

Phillies: Mayberry swinging a hot bat
John Mayberry Jr. continued his recent hot streak in Wednesday's 6-2 win over the Reds, going 2-for-4 with a double off the wall and a run scored.

Mayberry, who has struggled against right-handed pitching this season, is hitting .369 (24-for-65) with three doubles, four home runs and 12 RBIs over his last 17 games.

The outfielder has upped his average to .256 on the season, and he has 14 home runs and 40 RBIs.

"He's getting a chance to play and he's been hitting some homers, and also, things are falling his way. He's been playing pretty stable," manager Charlie Manuel said. "There's a lot of guys that run hot and cold. If they start the season cold, then their batting average is going to be down low."

• With the season over for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg and pitching coach Rod Nichols will join the Phillies' coaching staff on Friday for the rest of the season.

Worth noting
• Jimmy Rollins is two stolen bases shy of 400 for his career. On Tuesday, the Phillies shortstop became the fourth player in history to record 2,000 career hits in a Philadelphia uniform. He's in great company, as the first three Phils to accomplish the feat -- Mike Schmidt, Richie Ashburn and Ed Delahanty -- are enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

• Domonic Brown snapped an 0-for-20 skid with a first-inning RBI single in the first inning on Wednesday.

• In six career regular-season starts again the Phillies, Francis is 1-1 with a 6.03 ERA. Comments