Going up against Mets ace Matt Harvey, Cliff Lee figured he had a small margin of error to work with.
He wasted it right away.
Lee gave up consecutive homers to David Wright and Marlon Byrd in the first inning, and the Philadelphia Phillies went down easily against Harvey in a 5-0 loss to New York on Sunday that sent them back under .500.
"Give Harvey a lot of credit," Lee said after making his 300th career start. "I knew going in it was going to be a game where I couldn't give up a lot of runs. Unfortunately, I didn't do that. What really is frustrating is that the home runs — all with two strikes and all with two outs."
Lee (10-4) also gave up a three-run shot to Juan Lagares, the seventh long ball the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner has allowed in his last two starts. The left-hander yielded just nine in his first 18 outings.
Lee gave up five runs and seven hits in six innings for his first road loss since May 1, a span of nine starts.
"He had good stuff," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Obviously, he has to fix the home runs. But the other guy was really good today."
The Mets snapped their seven-game skid against the Phillies at Citi Field with a 5-4 victory Saturday, and the win Sunday left Philadelphia at 49-50.
The Phillies moved above .500 on Saturday for first time since June 6, but then lost two in a row.
"You have to keep thinking that maybe one of these days you will stay up," Manuel said.
In his first outing since starting the All-Star game on his home mound, Harvey (8-2) struck out 10 in seven overpowering innings. He hit a batter with a pitch in the first inning — just as he did Tuesday night when he nailed Yankees slugger Robinson Cano. But plunking Chase Utley with a 99 mph fastball was about the only mistake the 24-year-old ace made until Utley singled with one out in the fourth.
"The way my arm felt, the way my body felt — best all year," Harvey said.
Harvey also allowed a single to Michael Young in the sixth and a double to Delmon Young in the seventh inning of his 30th career start.
"He did a tremendous job today. He was in command and control of the entire game," Manuel said. "Definitely the best we've seen this year."
Scott Atchison gave up a single in two innings to complete the Mets' fifth shutout of the year. The Phillies have been blanked eight times.
At the All-Star game, Harvey said he was looking forward to meeting Lee. Whether or not the two pitchers spent any quality time together at the chaotic Midsummer Classic, Harvey certainly impressed Lee.
"I only talked to him a little, but it's clear that he has a good work ethic," Lee said. "It looks like he has a good future ahead of him."
Repeatedly reaching 99 mph on the scoreboard radar on Dwight Gooden bobblehead day, Harvey struck out the side in the third and fifth and threw a 100 mph pitch during a strikeout of Domonic Brown in the fourth.
Harvey struck out Brown three times, the final one his 10th of the day. The big right-hander has six games with double-digit strikeouts.
Brown, also an All-Star, fanned all four times up.
"One thing for sure, when he gets ahead of you — that's trouble," Brown said.
Wright's 15th homer hit high off the added fencing to protect fans and was confirmed after a review of 1 minute, 27 seconds. Lagares' liner was more questionable, hitting just above the orange line that tops the padded wall.
"It was awesome," Harvey said of the homers. "It made my job of going out there and throwing zeros even more fun."
Wright led off the fourth with a single and Josh Satin got a hit one out later. After John Buck flied out, Lagares sent a 1-2, hanging curveball over the new fence that was erected to shorten dimensions before the 2012 season. He waited on second base with his hands on his hips when three of the four umpires went inside for a look at the replay. Fans stood and twirled their finger, signaling homer, and when crew chief Mike Winters emerged he did the same.