The Phillies continued their July mini-surge with a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night. It was the Phillies’ third straight win and sixth in eight games this month.
Cole Hamels had a strong outing in winning back-to-back starts for the first time this season.
The hot streak has pulled the Phillies to within a game of the .500 mark at 45-46. Halfway through a crucial 10-game homestand that could decide whether management trades away veteran talent or hangs on for a possible second-half run, the Phils are 4-1.
Starting pitching report
Hamels (4-11) had his second straight strong start. He went eight innings and allowed six hits and a run. He walked one and struck out four. Hamels allowed just one earned run over seven innings in his previous start at Pittsburgh.
Hamels did his best pitching in the top of the eighth inning. Washington loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk. Manager Charlie Manuel visited Hamels at the mound as the lefty’s pitch count reached 100. Manuel stuck with Hamels and the pitcher struck out Ryan Zimmerman on three pitches, including a 93-mph strike three, for the second out. Hamels then went toe to toe with Jayson Werth and retired him on fly ball to center on a full-count fastball. It was pretty good drama and Hamels looked like the Hamels of old in staring down the challenge.
Nationals rookie Taylor Jordan, in his third big-league start, allowed eight hits and four runs over 5 2/3 innings. One of the runs was unearned.
Jonathan Papelbon, who has carried a heavy load lately, got a night off. Antonio Bastardo allowed a run in the ninth but hung on for the save. He got the final out with the potential tying run at the plate.
At the plate
Domonic Brown drove in the Phillies’ first run with a single in the fourth inning. He leads the club with 64 RBIs. Michael Young had a two-run double with one out in the sixth. It came two batters after Nats first baseman Adam LaRoche made an error on a potential double-play ball.
Chase Utley scored two runs. Ben Revere had two hits to run his average to .302.
Werth homered in the second inning as Washington took a 1-0 lead on Hamels.
In the field
The Nationals made two errors, including one that contributed to a run in the Phillies’ three-run sixth.
John Mayberry Jr. misplayed two balls in right field late in the game.
The Phillies sent reliever Phillippe Aumont to Triple A and brought up little-known reliever Luis Garcia. Pitching coach Rich Dubee offered a critique of the talented but inconsistent Aumont after the move was made (see story).
Good pitching matchup Wednesday night with Cliff Lee (10-2, 2.73) going against Gio Gonzalez (6-3, 3.14).