By ROB MAADDI AP Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ At least the Philadelphia Phillies still have one ace.
Cliff Lee came within one out of a complete game, Ryan Howard and Michael Young hit back-to-back home runs and the Phillies beat the New York Mets 8-3 on Tuesday night.
John Mayberry Jr. also went deep for Philadelphia and Young had three hits, missing the cycle by a double.
Lee (2-0) allowed three runs _ two earned _ and eight hits, striking out six in 8 2-3 innings. The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner didn’t win his second game until July 31 last year.
While Lee is off to an excellent start with a 1.08 ERA, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay are 0-4 combined with a 12.50 ERA.
“I’m not worried about anybody on this team,” Lee said. “It’s only two outings. Our talent will play out over the course of the season.”
Before the game, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the Phillies need better pitching from Hamels and Halladay, who are making a combined $39.5 million this season.
“If our No. 1 and No. 2 don’t pitch well, we can’t win,” Amaro said.
The Phillies (3-5) roughed up Dillon Gee (0-2) for seven runs and 10 hits in three innings. It was his shortest career outing in 51 starts.
“He’d miss his target by 2 feet. It was just one of those nights for him,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of Gee.
John Buck hit his fourth homer in eight games for the Mets, who fell to 5-3.
For the first time since 1980, Philadelphia played New York in three professional sports on the same day. The NHL’s New York Islanders beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 and the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 104-83.
The Phillies jumped on Gee for four runs in the second. Young and Domonic Brown hit hard singles before Mayberry ripped a two-run double down the left-field line. With two outs, Lee hit a sharp single up the middle to score Mayberry. Jimmy Rollins then lined an RBI double to right.
Howard and Young homered on consecutive pitches in the third and Mayberry connected one out later. It was the first homer this season for all three hitters.
Howard’s drive went to left-center and Young also went opposite field to right for his first homer with the Phillies. Mayberry’s shot hooked down the left-field line.
Gee became the first Mets pitcher to allow three homers in one inning since Johan Santana against the New York Yankees on June 8, 2012.
“We did a good job feeding off Cliff,” Young said. “Cliff is awesome. Love playing behind him. He’s a baseball player who pitches. He loves to compete. He has a bad at-bat and he gets (ticked).”
Buck hit his second opposite-field drive in two nights. He connected off Halladay in a 7-2 win Monday night.
Mayberry, starting against a righty instead of the left-handed hitting Laynce Nix, finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs. Young was 3 for 4 and drove in two. He hit an RBI triple in the fourth for his third hit. Needing a double for the cycle, Young grounded out in the seventh.
Lee was a hard-luck pitcher last year, going 6-9 despite a 3.16 ERA. He nearly recorded his first complete game since Sept. 15, 2011. He had six that season.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel got booed when he went to the mound to pull Lee and heard some more when he jogged back to the dugout.
“Obviously with one out, I wanted to stay in,” Lee said. “But we won the game and that’s all that matters.”
Manuel didn’t want to push Lee past 106 pitches.
“I didn’t want to get in a big inning where he threw 25, 30 pitches,” Manuel said.
NOTES: The six combined letters in the last names of the two starters tied a record for fewest. It’s happened 22 other times. … Amaro said the team has no plans to take the struggling Halladay out of the rotation or send him to extended spring training to work out his issues. “Doc gets as long as he needs,” Amaro said. … Phillies C Carlos Ruiz was 1 for 3 against New York Yankees right-hander Chien-Ming Wang in an extended spring game. OF Delmon Young played six innings in the field in that game. Young, who is rehabbing an ankle injury, could start a rehab assignment next week. … Gee’s previous shortest start was 3 2-3 innings in Philadelphia on Aug. 3, 2011. … A crowd of 38,305 was the fourth straight non-sellout at Citizens Bank Park. … RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-1, 1.50 ERA) pitches for the Mets against RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 7.94) on Wednesday night.
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