(Reuters) - Cliff Lee gave Stephen Strasburg a master class in pitching as the veteran left-hander upstaged his young opponent to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to an 8-0 shutout victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.
Despite being a former Cy Young winner, Lee has endured a difficult season while the 24-year-old Strasburg has continued his rise to prominence.
However, the 33-year-old Lee (2-6) turned the tables in the opener of the three-game series in Washington, forcing seven strikeouts over seven scoreless innings for one of his best outings of 2012.
“We beat a good pitcher,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told reporters. “I thought we played very good. We did come out with some life and everything. I mean, we got 13 hits.”
Kevin Frandsen hit a two-run home run in the second and Jimmy Rollins added a two-run, inside-the-park homer two innings later to make it a short day of work for Strasburg, who exited after the fourth.
Strasburg allowed six runs and eight hits to fall to 11-5 on the season, though the Nationals (61-41) still enjoy a three-game cushion at the top of the National League East.
Philadelphia (46-57) has won the last five division titles but has reversed roles with the underachieving Nationals.
Now it is the Phillies who are at the bottom of the division, a distant 15 1/2 games behind Washington.
Perhaps looking toward the future, the Phillies made a pair of trades on Tuesday, sending outfielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Hunter Pence to San Francisco.
“I think we kind of realized something was going to happen just with the way we were playing,” Lee said of the trades.
“It wasn’t like a complete surprise, but what’s done is done. Hopefully it ends up being the best thing for us.”
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien