Hamels in rare form, but Phils fall to Fish

The word dominant hasn’t been used to describe Cole Hamels since right after the champagne dried on the 2008 World Series title.

The up-and-down lefty was in championship form yesterday, staying ahead in counts while keeping the ball down in eight-plus innings. Unfortunately, the Phils’ bats went quiet again.

“I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating,” said Hamels, who was tagged with his first loss. “If I go out and pitch a good game and if we don’t have the runs to show, then that’s baseball.”

His skipper agreed.

“Hitting, it comes and goes,” Charlie Manuel said.

Indeed. The Phils were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. But don’t blame Hamels. He struck out eight with no walks on 102 pitches. The big mistake came when he left a cutter up and Dan Uggla put it in the left-field seats.

“He didn’t have that inning where he spends 25-35 pitches,” Manuel said. “He had good command, threw balls low in the strike zone.”

Hamels has been experimenting with his new pitch — the cutter — since spring training. He threw about six of them against Florida.

“It’s a confidence pitch, the more you throw it the better you’re going to feel,” Hamels said. “I know if I’m able, if I’m getting the right grip, releasing it in a way that I like, just letting the curve take over, then I’ll get good results.”

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