for this game

Hamels strong as Phillies hold off Nationals

Aug 17, 2007 - 5:43 AM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Cole Hamels notched his 14th win, but not before the Philadelphia Phillies' bullpen weathered a late storm.

Hamels tossed 6 2/3 solid innings and Carlos Ruiz belted a two-run homer as the Phillies held on for a 4-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday.

With the victory, the Phillies (64-56) climbed within three games of the first-place New York Mets (67-53) in the National League East Division. New York on Thursday dropped a 10-7 decision to Pittsburgh.

Philadelphia remained one game behind San Diego in the NL wild card race. The Padres (65-55) posted an 11-9 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

In winning for the fifth time in six decisions, Hamels (14-5) worked more than six innings for the eighth consecutive time. The All-Star lefthander limited Washington to just four hits and two walks while striking out six, throwing 62-of-101 pitches for strikes in humid conditions.

Ruiz gave Hamels some early support with a two-run homer in the second inning, belting a 1-0 offering from Joel Hanrahan over the left-center field wall with Jayson Werth aboard.

"I was looking for a good pitch to hit, and I hit the ball good," said Ruiz, who hadn't homered since May 15 - a span of 176 at-bats. "I hope to finish this month very good and to help my team in September."

The Phillies added a run in the seventh as Jimmy Rollins drew a leadoff walk and Tadahito Iguchi reached on a bunt single. Following a flyout by Pat Burrell, Ryan Howard plated Rollins with a grounder, giving Philadelphia a 3-0 bulge.

The RBI was the first of the series for Howard, who leads the National League with 98. After driving in at least one run in five of Philadelphia's first six games this month, the reigning NL MVP has recorded an RBI in just three of the last eight contests.

"I'd like to see him stay on the ball better," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He can hit those breaking balls and changeups. He hit those last year. Right now, he's striding out there too soon and he's going quick. ... He's trying to go get it and he's getting out over his front side and he's not seeing the ball real good. He's definitely trying too hard."

Howard had a different take on his recent lack of production.

"I'm done talking about that," he said. "It's just not hitting the ball. You get pitches to hit and foul them off. You can't foul the pitches off that you do get to hit. Sometimes you're going to chase bad pitches, that's anybody, but when I'm getting pitches to hit, I'm fouling them off. That's the thing for me that I don't want to do.

"It happens. You get hot, you get cold. Right now, I just want to go out there and keep playing."

Pinch hitter Greg Dobbs extended the advantage to four with an RBI double in the eighth, but the Nationals made a comeback attempt in the eighth against the Phillies' relief corps.

Ronnie Belliard belted his seventh homer of the season on the third pitch of the inning from Tom Gordon, who started the frame. One out later, Dmitri Young deposited a 2-1 pitch over the right field wall for his 11th blast, halving the deficit to 4-2.

The power display marked the first time the Nationals homered twice in an inning at home since Ryan Zimmerman and Austin Kearns accomplished the feat September 2 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Kearns drew a walk, prompting Manuel to turn to lefthander J.C. Romero, who yielded a single by Ryan Church before Jesus Flores lined into a double play to right field, ending the inning.

"I'm just happy the way the guys kept battling," Washington manager Manny Acta said.

Brett Myers worked a perfect ninth to notch his 11th save.

The Nationals, who had a runner reach second base in each of the first four innings, mounted their first serious threat in the seventh.

Kearns led off with a double to left-center and, after Hamels struck out Church and Flores, Nook Logan reached on a bunt single.

"I didn't foresee Logan bunting, or anybody bunting with two outs, but that's the name of his game," Hamels said.

Righthander Antonio Alfonseca came on and walked pinch hitter Tony Batista to load the bases before striking out Felipe Lopez to escape unscathed.

"It didn't bother me one bit just because I know that we do have a bullpen that's been doing well," Hamels said of being replaced. "So if I can hand it over to them, that's no problem."

The 23-year-old Hamels admitted he was tiring in the seventh.

"That's probably the first time where I was just lacking energy," he said. "I was definitely exhausted. I gave it everything I had at that moment and I knew with Batista coming up - he's definitely a good clutch hitter - I didn't think I had the stuff to actually get him out at that time of the day."

Neither did Manuel.

"I wanted to put a righthanded pitcher on Batista because he's dangerous," Manuel said. "Plus, Alfonseca's faced him quite a bit, so I liked Alfonseca over Cole. If (Logan) hadn't got that hit there, I'd have probably let Cole keep going."

Manuel did not seem to sense Hamels' state of exhaustion.

"He didn't say nothing, but when I looked in his eye, I could tell he wanted to stay," Manuel said. "Him and I have our moments. So far, I've won 'em. But that's OK, that's fine. I like it that way, really, and he pitched very good."

Making his fourth career start, Hanrahan (2-1) allowed two runs and four hits in five innings. The 25-year-old righthander walked four but struck out a season-high eight.

"That's three games in a row where I've only gone five innings, and with the way our bullpen's been getting used, that's not what you're looking for," Hanrahan said. "I know that's not what Manny's looking for. I've got to get quicker outs and stop walking people."

"For the most part, he gave us a chance and kept us in the game," Acta said. "But I need a little bit more out of him innings-wise. I wish that he would've used all of his pitches more effectively, but he still gave us a chance."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    PHILADELPHIA 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 4 9 1
    WASHINGTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 7 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: PHI - COLE HAMELS, ANTONIO ALFONSECA (7TH), TOM GORDON (8TH), J.C.
    ROMERO (8TH), BRETT MYERS (9TH) AND CARLOS RUIZ
    WAS - JOEL HANRAHAN, CHRIS SCHRODER (6TH), MIKE B

    Aug 16 10:09 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DMITRI YOUNG (11) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF TOM GORDON.
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 4, WASHINGTON 2
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: A KEARNS (.250, 2-FOR-2, BB)

    Phillies vs. NationalsAug 16 9:44 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY RONNIE BELLIARD (7) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF TOM GORDON.
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 4, WASHINGTON 1
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R ZIMMERMAN (.265, 0-FOR-3)

    Phillies vs. NationalsAug 16 9:40 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY GREG DOBBS SCORED JAYSON WERTH.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G DOBBS ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 4
    WASHINGTON 0 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: J ROLLINS (.288, 1-FOR-3, BB)

    Phillies vs. NationalsAug 16 9:35 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY RYAN HOWARD SCORED JIMMY ROLLINS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R HOWARD ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 3
    WASHINGTON 0 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: A ROWAND (.309, 0-FOR-3)

    Phillies vs. NationalsAug 16 9:05 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY CARLOS RUIZ (4) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 2ND OFF JOEL HANRAHAN SCORED JAYSON WERTH.
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 2, WASHINGTON 0
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: A NUNEZ (.250, 0 HR, 15 RBI)

    Phillies vs. NationalsAug 16 7:27 PM
  • 5
    roots
    dseligsohn Added 5 roots

    Phillies vs. NationalsJul 18 4:25 PM