PHOENIX -- Cliff Lee smiled in a hallway underneath Chase Field. He was asked what his pitching coach, Rich Dubee, might have thought when his TV in Sarasota, Fla., showed his second ace beginning a second inning of work in Tuesday's All-Star Game.
"I feel fine," Lee said. "Physically I'm good. I don't know if he's happy about it, or what, but it's not an issue at all. I was willing to do it, and I would have gone out there for a third inning if they had wanted me to. It's an important game and a big game, and I was willing to do anything to help this team win."
Lee threw 25 pitches Tuesday and he does not believe it will affect his ability to start Sunday against the Mets as expected. He needed 13 pitches in the third inning to induce three groundball outs and National League manager Bruce Bochy decided to squeeze another inning out of the lefty.
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That was not an issue for Lee. He said as he warmed up in the bullpen he was told he might be used for two innings or 30 pitches, whichever came first.
"It was no problem," Lee said. "I was willing to pitch as long as they wanted me to."
He cruised through the first five batters he faced until Adrian Gonzalez bashed a solo home run.
"Tried to throw a cutter away," Lee said, "and it ended up down the middle."
The next two hitters reached on singles and that was enough for Lee.
With Roy Halladay's two perfect innings and Lee's spotless third, the two became the first duo to open an All-Star Game by retiring the first nine batters in order since 2001 when Roger Clemens and Freddy Garcia did it.
In the end, Bochy rode five pitchers from the Phillies and Braves to victory for the National League while using only one of his three pitchers. It's part of the advantage that comes with being the manager and Bochy utilized it.
"If you look at the pitch count on both pitchers, I think they were good counts," Bochy said. "We talked to Cliff. He said, 'If I have an easy inning, I really want to go back out.'
"If you look at their records, or how they have done the first half, I think they were very deserving to be out there. Well, more so than my guys I think, to be honest."
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