The boos were loudest Tuesday when Charlie Manuel climbed the dugout steps to remove a Phillies pitcher. This was noise Manuel could handle. For one night, baseball's worst pitching staff succeeded.

Cliff Lee was one out away from a complete game in the Phillies' 8-3 win over New York. The fans wanted a taste of elusive pitching nirvana in this early season.

What did Lee say when Manuel arrived at the mound?

"I don't remember," Lee said.

"Oh," Manuel said, "he wanted to stay in, of course."

The manager stuck with his decision, which qualified as drama on a satisfying night. After a wretched week, everything went right at Citizens Bank Park.

Every Phillies player but Chase Utley had a hit before the third inning ended. Michael Young fell a double short of the cycle. Ryan Howard finally smashed a home run. John Mayberry Jr. drove in three runs.

The Phillies yearn for a starting pitcher who can last six innings. That happened three times in the first eight games, and Lee did it twice. He silenced the Mets in 82/3 innings with little drama amid a steady diet of fastballs. Lee has a 1.08 ERA after two starts.

"As a team I thought we did a really good job feeding off Cliff," Young said. "We had a lot of energy tonight, and that's something we really wanted to focus on - playing with more energy, more enthusiasm. We felt like the results would follow."