And the 30-year-old lefty, who had no prior playoff experience, has done nothing but dominate in October. He allowed three hits over eight shutout innings in the Phillies' 11-0 Game 3 victory over the Dodgers, lowering his 2009 postseason ERA to 0.74. His 10 strikeouts Sunday tied Curt Schilling (Game 1, 1993 NLCS) and Steve Carlton (Game 2, 1980 World Series) for the Phillies postseason franchise mark. "I don't think I ever doubted myself," Lee said. "I always had confidence in myself and felt like I could pitch in a big game. But you never know until you get the opportunity. It's a challenge." Lee was staked to a six-run lead after just two innings, so he did not have to be brilliant. He still was. He allowed three baserunners, one of whom was erased on a double play. He worked himself into just three three-ball counts -- two against Manny Ramirez -- and issued no walks. Only one man reached second base. "What I always think of Cliff Lee: He's pretty damned special," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "With his delivery and how aggressive he is, I think he comes at you quick, and sometimes it startles the hitters where they're not quite ready to hit." When Lee was warming up in the bullpen before Sunday's game, catcher Carlos Ruiz had a feeling that a special night might lie ahead.
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.