PHILADELPHIA - The Phillies loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday night.

Kevin Frandsen lined a single to left. Two runs scored. The Phillies took a three-run lead. The fans roared.

This was probably how Cliff Lee envisioned life with the Phillies.

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Philadelphia beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 before 38,188 fans at Citizens Bank Park. Lee struck out nine, walked none and allowed five hits and two runs in eight innings for the win.

After the game, Lee said he wants to win in Philadelphia but he made no doubt that he's unhappy the way the Phillies have played since the start of the last season.

"For whatever reason, we've been on the bad side for the past year and a half," he said. "I don't think anybody here is happy about it. I want to win. I signed here to win. That's not ever going to change."

The Phillies (35-37), however, are showing signs of life with two straight wins over the Nationals. Philadelphia is tied with Washington for second place in the National League East, 7 games back of the first-place Atlanta Braves.

Lee, 34, has been one of the best pitchers in baseball with a 9-2 record and a 2.50 ERA this season.

"He controls the game," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Lee. "He runs it at his tempo."

But fans and media have wondered the past few days if Lee still wants to pitch for the Phillies.

Lee didn't discourage trade talk when after his last start - a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins last Thursday - he said he wanted to play for a winner.

That wasn't the first time Lee voiced his displeasure. In May, he called on his teammates to have more pride.

Lee didn't back away from his Minnesota comments Tuesday night.

"I was asked questions, and I answered them truthfully about how I felt," he said. "I don't really care how it's interpreted to be honest with you."

But Lee said he doesn't want to play anywhere else. He wants to win in Philadelphia.

"I don't think anybody is happy with the way we played, and that's all I was saying in Minnesota," he said. "I don't care how that's taken. That's how I feel."

Lee became one of Philadelphia's most popular players when the Phillies traded for him in 2009. Lee went 4-0 in the postseason to spark the Phillies to a World Series. Philadelphia lost to the New York Yankees 4 games to 2. Lee won both games for Philadelphia.

The Phillies traded Lee that winter to the Seattle Mariners much to the puzzlement of Philadelphia fans.

But Lee earned the undying appreciation of Philadelphia fans when he signed a five-year $120 million contract with the Phillies as a free agent after the 2010 season.

Lee probably figured he had joined a perennial playoff team, but he has pitched only one post-season game - a 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the 2011 National League Division Series - since rejoining Philadelphia. Lee blew a 4-0 lead in that contest.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday he understands Lee's frustration but said he has no plans to trade Lee. Amaro said Lee has a "no-trade" not a "trade-me" contract.

Lee still has the support of his teammates, who seem to love playing behind him.

"He loves having the ball in his hand," Phillies third baseman Michael Young said. "He loves to compete. It's a huge plus for us anytime he's on the mound."

Frandsen said of Lee: "He's a baseball player. He's what you want in a baseball player. Someone who has a great time out there and gives you a chance to win."

Lee and the Phillies appeared headed for another defeat caused by a lack of run production Tuesday.

The Nationals led 1-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth inning on a solo home run from former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth.

But Philadelphia tied the game on Ryan Howard's fourth-inning sacrifice fly. Jimmy Rollins gave the Phillies the lead for good with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Later in the inning, the Phillies loaded the bases with no outs. The scoring chance seemed to be fizzling when Domonic Brown and Delmon Young struck out swinging. But Frandsen then lined his single to left, scoring two runs, increasing the lead to 4-1 and keeping Lee thinking about staying in Philadelphia.

"I'm confident we can win," Lee said. "I'm confident this organization is going to do everything to field the best team. Those are all reasons why I came here, and that's what I expect."

Contact Michael McGarry:


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