for this game

Hamels, homers help Phillies complete sweep

Jul 4, 2008 - 3:52 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Cole Hamels picked up right where he left off against the struggling Atlanta Braves.

Hamels came within one out of his third shutout of the season and the Philadelphia Phillies belted three solo home runs en route to a 4-1 triumph Thursday over the Braves, who have lost five in a row.

Philadelphia has owned Atlanta of late, winning 10 of the last 11 meetings between the teams and 16 of 21. No Phillies starter has been better against the Braves than Hamels (9-5), who had held Atlanta scoreless in his previous 15 innings entering Thursday's contest.

Philadelphia's ace almost matched his last stellar outing against Atlanta in which he scattered four hits in a shutout at Citizens Bank Park on May 15. He entered the ninth inning of this one with a three-hitter but yielded a leadoff double by Chipper Jones and a two-out, two-base hit by Brian McCann that spoiled the shutout bid.

"It's so hard to get the perfect game, no-hitter, complete-game shutout or a complete game," Hamels said. "You really have to stay with it."

"It's not just been to us, but everybody," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said of Hamels' success. "He's one of the most dangerous pitchers in the league, I think."

After throwing 125 pitches, the lefthander immediately was replaced by Tom Gordon, who retired Jeff Francoeur on one pitch to notch his second save of the season. Francoeur, who was hitless in four-at bats, is mired in an 8-for-66 slump.

"We were able to come out with a victory and I was able to get my teammate Flash a save," Hamels joked. "With 125 pitches, I was feeling it a little bit."

Hamels, who yielded one run, five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 8 2/3 frames, was aided by the offensive power of the Phillies. Chase Utley hit his major league-leading 24th homer of the campaign in the first inning, Ryan Howard belted his 22nd in the sixth and Pedro Feliz - who also had an RBI single in the fourth - launched his 10th a frame later.

Howard's blast gave him a National League-best 72 RBI.

Feliz finished with three hits for Philadelphia, which swept its second consecutive three-game series in Atlanta for the first time in franchise history and improved to 19-7 in its last 26 contests at Turner Field.

"I don't know," Howard said of his team's success here. "That's for you guys to know. We just try to come to play. We try to win games, and that's it."

A skydiving Santa Claus made a rare appearance prior to the game as part of Atlanta's "Christmas in July" theme night, delivering the ceremonial first-pitch ball. Unfortunately for the Braves and their fans, Santa did not give Atlanta bats full of clutch hits.

The Braves, who entered just 2-for-24 with runners in scoring position over the first two games of the series, had five chances to drive in a runner from second base in the first two innings but came up empty each time.

Hamels did not give Atlanta many chances thereafter, retiring 20 of 21 batters beginning in the second inning before surrendering a two-out double by Gregor Blanco in the eighth. The 24-year-old extended his scoreless streak against Atlanta to 23 frames before the Braves finally broke through in the ninth.

Atlanta, which finished the series 3-for-34 with runners in scoring position, has not had a lead in 45 consecutive innings dating back to last Friday's 4-0 victory over Toronto.

"We had (34) chances, and three hits isn't enough," McCann said. "To win ballgames, that's what you're going to have to do - get timely hits."

The series was one of lost opportunities for the Braves (40-46), who could have climbed within one game of the first-place Phillies (47-39) in the NL East Division with a sweep. Instead, Philadelphia opened a seven-game bulge over Atlanta.

"We just didn't get the hits and we didn't get the pitching," Braves starter Jair Jurrjens said. "You can't win if you don't hit or pitch. That's baseball."

Jurrjens (8-4) suffered his first home loss of the year, falling to 5-1 at Turner Field by allowing four runs, eight hits and a walk with six strikeouts in seven innings. The righthander had won his previous four decisions overall and was 7-0 with a 3.31 ERA in 13 career home starts with Detroit and Atlanta.








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

    BATTERIES: PHI - COLE HAMELS, TOM GORDON (9TH) AND CARLOS RUIZ
    ATL - JAIR JURRJENS, WILL OHMAN (8TH), MIKE GONZALEZ
    (9TH) AND BRIAN MCCANN

    HOME RUNS: PHI - CHASE UTLEY (24)

    Jul 3 9:32 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY BRIAN MCCANN SCORED CHIPPER JONES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B MCCANN ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 4
    ATLANTA 1 BOTTOM, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J FRANCOEUR (.234, 0-FOR-3)

    Phillies 4, Braves 1  Bot 9, 0 OutsJul 3 9:28 PM
  • 10
    roots
    BAFan13 Added 5 roots

    Phillies 4, Braves 0  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 3 9:17 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY PEDRO FELIZ (10) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    7TH OFF JAIR JURRJENS.
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 4, ATLANTA 0
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: C RUIZ (.210, 0-FOR-2)

    Phillies 4, Braves 0  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 3 8:48 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY RYAN HOWARD (22) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    6TH OFF JAIR JURRJENS.
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 3, ATLANTA 0
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: P BURRELL (.280, 2-FOR-2)

    Phillies 3, Braves 0  Top 6, 0 OutsJul 3 8:36 PM
  • 5
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Phillies 2, Braves 0  Top 4, 0 OutsJul 3 8:09 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY PEDRO FELIZ SCORED PAT BURRELL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, P FELIZ ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 2
    ATLANTA 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: C RUIZ (.211, 0-FOR-1)

    Phillies 2, Braves 0  Top 4, 0 OutsJul 3 8:07 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: PHI - COLE HAMELS
    ATL - JAIR JURRJENS

    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: G BLANCO (.274, 1 HR, 16 RBI)
    Y ESCOBAR (.294, 6 HR, 30 RBI)
    C JONES (.391, 17 HR, 47 RBI)

    Phillies 1, Braves 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 3 7:17 PM