It appeared to be deja vu all over again for Cole Hamels. The lefty has pitched very well against Miami this season, but he had nothing to show for it due to a lack of run support.
That all changed after Hamels left Wednesday’s game after pitching seven terrific innings. The Phillies hung a crooked number on the board and beat the Marlins, 6-1, sweeping the three-game series.
When Hamels departed for a pinch-hitter, it looked like more of the same. But the Phillies broke open a 1-1 game with a two-out rally for five runs. Jimmy Rollins drove in the game-winner with a single. Ryan Howard knocked in a pair with a triple, his first since April 2011.
“Is it?,” Howard asked, when informed of the drought. “When he [right fielder Marcell Ozuna] dove for it, I knew it [the ball] had a chance to go to the wall and I just went for it.”
Domonic Brown hit his league-leading 18th homer by slamming a ball into the right-field seats. The Phillies are on a season-high, four-game winning streak and the club is at the .500 mark (30-30) for the first time since mid-April.
The Phillies wouldn’t be there without Hamels (2-9). He gave up four hits and one run, while striking out 11, which is the 23rd time he has hit double-digit strikeouts in his career.
“It’s not about the personal stuff,” Hamels said. “It’s about going the team winning. For me, it’s about going deep in the game and making pitches.”
Perhaps most significant is that Hamels had command. He only walked one and hit one batter.
“I’ve walked a lot of guys and that’s not what I’m about,” Hamels said. “I attack hitters. I was trying to be too fine [earlier in the season], making perfect pitches. I’m not doing that anymore.”
Charlie Manuel was impressed with Hamels.
“I thought he pitched good,” Manuel said. “Good for him. He won the game. I’m sure he feels a lot better about himself. Maybe he’ll get going and have the big year I expected that he would have.”
Now that the Phillies are .500, Manuel expects the team will take off as well.
“We’re capable of getting it going,” Manuel said. “We’ll be over .500 [Thursday night] if we play good. When you get to .500, we can get going and win some games. If we win eight out of 10 games, we’ll be in good position.”
Manuel must have looked ahead at the schedule.
The Phillies play three winnable series (Brewers, Twins, Rockies) on their upcoming 10-game road trip. The Brewers and Twins are among the worst in baseball, and the Rockies have been playing above their heads.