The gate to the visitors' bullpen at Fenway Park opened at 9:31 p.m. Jonathan Papelbon paused there as the noise emanated from right field. He took two steps and jogged onto the field of the 101-year-old stadium. The Dropkick Murphys soundtrack was replaced by boos from people who once idolized the kooky closer with an alter ego.

This was Papelbon's moment, the ninth inning of a 3-1 Phillies victory Tuesday night that was willed by eight sublime innings from Cliff Lee. Papelbon, in his return to Boston, earned the save with 16 pitches.

"I don't think a whole lot," Papelbon said. "They don't pay me to think."

Papelbon spun and pumped his right fist, as he does after every save. It was 9:43 p.m. Fenway Park was silenced.

It had been a curious decision to lift Lee; his 95 pitches were his fewest in a start this season. He had retired 23 of the last 25 batters he faced. Nonetheless, manager Charlie Manuel preferred his closer.

"I kind of wanted to see it, if you want to know the truth," Manuel said. "What the hell? Pap likes drama. Hell, I might as well like it with him."

Lee struck out eight and walked none. Boston's four hits were singles. His season ERA is 2.34. He has permitted a total of five runs in his last five starts (39 innings). The Phillies have won all five games.

"They just came up to me in the eighth and said that was it," Lee said.

Manuel said he would have chosen Papelbon regardless of where the Phillies played. Later, he admitted otherwise. Lee dazzled. Papelbon is pitching better than ever. His scoreless streak of 182/3 innings is nearing a career best. His ERA is 0.92.

As Papelbon tossed in the bullpen, the crowd began to take notice. A few fans started berating Papelbon, one Phillies reliever said. The 32-year-old pitcher was a Red Sox for seven years. He threw the final pitch in the 2007 World Series.