By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
PHILADELPHIA -- What was supposed to be a terrific pitching matchup in this series opener was, instead, a mismatch.
Cliff Lee tossed a complete-game two-hit shutout while Josh Beckett was tagged for two two-run homers over six innings, sending the Red Sox to a 5-0 defeat to the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston's fifth loss in its last six games -- all against National League opponents.
The masterpiece was Lee's third straight complete-game shutout and extended his consecutive scoreless streak to 32 innings.
Domonic Brown gave Lee all the support he needed with a two-run belt to center in the second. After Lee helped himself with a fifth-inning sacrifice, the Phils used the long ball against Beckett again in the sixth when Shane Victorino homered to right with Placido Polanco aboard.
Beckett, making his first start since June 15, was tagged with his first loss in almost exactly a month, dating back to May 29.
The Sox had just one baserunner -- a walk to Kevin Youkilis to open the second -- through the first four innings. They didn't record a hit until Marco Scutaro led off the sixth with a line single to left.
The only other hit for the Sox came on a leadoff double by Darnell McDonald.
The game marked the seventh time the Sox have been blanked this season.
STAR OF THE GAME: Cliff Lee
When he's in a groove, Lee can be the best pitcher in baseball. Tuesday night, he certainly looked like it.
Lee tossed his third straight complete-game shutout, allowing just two hits, while extending his scoreless innings streak to 32.
All of which undoubtedly makes the Red Sox feel very fortunate indeed that Lee didn't sign with the New York Yankees last winter.
HONORABLE MENTION: Domonic Brown
Brown staked the Phillies to a 2-0 lead in the second with a two-run homer, then doubled to open the fifth, took third on a fly ball and trotted home with the third Philadelphia run on a sacrifice by Lee.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Josh Beckett
Beckett didn't pitch poorly. He made two bad pitches, which resulted in four runs for the Phillies -- a pitch up in the strike zone to Brown in the second, then a fastball that wandered out over the plate for Shane Victorino for another two-run homer in the sixth.
TURNING POINT: Domonic Brown's two-run homer in the second -- early as it was -- was all the support Lee would need.
With the Red Sox handcuffed by Lee, the 2-0 edge was more than enough considering how well the lefty was throwing.
BY THE NUMBERS: Josh Beckett's streak of opening the season with 14 straight outings without allowing more than four earned runs in any one -- the longest since Jeff Fassero in 2000 -- came to an end.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "It will be good offensively, but damn, I've got to play second, first and right. That's a lot of ground to cover, man.'' -- Dustin Pedroia, asked what sort of impact David Ortiz at first and Adrian Gonzalez in right field might have Wednesday night.