Cole Hamels pitched eight strong innings, giving up only one run on five hits as he help led the Phils to a three-game sweep of the Nationals, 4-2. The Phils now have a seven and a half games lead over the now second place Braves, while their magic number have now dropped to 10.
The game started as a pitchers’ duel between Phils’ starter Cole Hamels, who was working on a perfect game through the first five innings, striking out four, and Nationals’ starters Ross Detwiler, who was able to keep the Phils’ off the board for four innings, while giving up three hits and hitting a batter, while striking out four. The Phils then took the lead in the bottom of the fifth as, with a runner on second, and with two outs, Jimmy Rollins hits an RBI double, knocking in Pedro Feliz, who had earlier walked, and then moved up to second on a Carlos Ruiz ground out, 1-3, to give the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Phils then added to their lead in the sixth as, with the bases loaded, via walks to Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth, and a single to Ben Francisco, moving both Howard and Werth up a base, and with two man out, Ruiz received an RBI walk, forcing in Howard, and making it a 2-0 Phils’ lead, while moving Werth on to third and Francisco to second. The next batter, Hamels, then helped his own cause by hitting an RBI single, knocking in Werth, making it 3-0 Phils, while sending Francisco to third and Ruiz to second. The Nats’ would end the shut out in the seventh, an inning after Mike Morse had broken up Hamels’ no-hit bid with a lead-off single, as, with two men on, and with one man out, Elijah Dukes hits an RBI single, knocking in Ryan Zimmerman, who had earlier singled and had gone to second on Josh Willingham’s single, making it a 3-1 Phils’ lead, while sending Willingham, who had earlier singled, to second base. The Phils would get the run back in their half of the seventh as, with a runner on third, and with two men out, as Werth batted, Chase Utley, who had earlier walked, had moved up to second on a wild pitch, and then moved over to third on a Howard ground out, 4-3, would score on the second wild pitch of the inning, making it 4-1 Phils. The Nats would make it 4-2 Phils in the ninth as, with a runner on third, and with one man out, Ian Desmond hits an RBI ground out, 5-3, knocking in Dukes, who had earlier tripled. But, that would be it as Brad Lidge would record his thirtieth save of the year by getting pinch hitter Willie Harris to fly out to center for the game’s final out.
Cole Hamels got the win as he pitched eight strong innings, giving up only one run on five hits and a walk, while striking out ten. His record is now 10-9 with a 4.07 ERA. Brad Lidge recorded his thirtieth save of the season as he pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit. Ross Detwiler took the lost, as he went five innings, giving up a run on four hits and a walk, while he struck out six. Tyler Clippard pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on a hit and three walks. Saul Rivera pitched a third of an inning, giving up a hit. Ron Villone pitched a third of an inning, giving up a run on a walk and a wild pitch, while he struck out a batter. Logan Kensing pitched two-thirds of an inning, throwing a wild pitch. Marco Estrado pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
The Phillies had just six hits in the game, but getting them when they counted. Jimmy Rollins lead the way with two hits, including an RBI double, raising his average back up to .247. Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, Ben Francisco and Cole Hamels had the other four Phils’ hits, all singles, with Hamels’ single knocking in a run. Carlos Ruiz scored a Phil run with a bases loaded walk, while the other run (Utley) scored on a wild pitch. The Phils are now riding a five game winning streak, with starting pitching giving up very few, if any runs, while the Phils’ offense has been able to be a bit more productive at the plate with runners in scoring position.
The Phillies (85-60, 1st) begin a ten-games road trip with a three-games series with the Braves (78-68, 2nd), starting tonight. The game will be played at Turner Field and will start at 7:30 pm Eastern. The Phils’ starter will be J.A. Happ (10-4, 2.77), who will be making his first start since September 2, when he lost to the Giants, as he pitched six innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out seven, in the Phils’ 4-0 lost. He will be trying to make his start since he had strained his intercostal muscle while taking batting practice in Houston. The Braves will send to the mound Tim Hudson (1-0, 3.63), who is coming off a no-decision against the Cardinals on September 12, when he went five innings, giving up four runs on ten hits and a walk, as he struck out one, in the Braves’ 7-6 win. He will be trying to keep the Braves’ slim pennant hopes alive. The Phils are entering their final road trip of the season, with a chance to all but kill the pennant chances of both the Braves this weekend and the Marlins early next week.