Kinsler smiled when asked what made Lee so effective.
"We had the same report you hear every time a guy throws well," he said, "but he seems to do it more often than most."
Lee threw 122 pitches - 85 for strikes. "He's a notorious strike thrower," said Colby Lewis, the losing pitcher.
It was typical Lee, who once again channeled his all-around ballplayer instincts. He stole the first base of his career in the fifth inning. The crowd loved it. He came pretty close to beating out a routine grounder in the sixth. The crowd showed their love for that as well, standing to cheer him as he jogged back to the dugout.
Of course, the Rangers had a pretty good idea what they would see from Lee. He helped them reach the World Series last season after he was acquired from Seattle around the trade deadline. He won three games in the first two rounds of the playoffs before running out of steam against the Giants.
But while the Yankees and Rangers tried to woo Lee when he became a free agent after last season, the lefthander showed his heart was still in Philly, turning down more money from the Yankees.
Pitching against the Rangers for the first time since he left them, Lee knew they were familiar with his stuff, so he made an adjustment.
"Those guys know I throw a lot of fastballs, so I tried to throw a little less than I normally would," he said. "Throwing strikes was the key."
From Lee's perspective, it was more important just to get a win than to beat his former teammates. He hadn't won since April 14 and the Phillies had lost four of his previous five starts. In his most recent start he walked six, the most of his career. Like the other Phillies starters, Lee also got little support. The Phillies had scored 11 runs in his previous six starts. So he had to be as good as he was.
"It feels good to win," he said. "It's a little bit different when you pitch against guys you just played with. It was a little different, but not off-the-charts different."
Rangers manager Ron Washington and GM Joe Daniels presented Lee with his AL championship ring Friday in the Phillies clubhouse. Asked about his team's struggles on offense, Washington said, "You've seen Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee pitch, right? There's your answer. Good pitching stops hitting. It's that simple."
Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or firstname.lastname@example.org