There was some magic in those pink bats that Jayson Werth, Placido Polanco, and Shane Victorino used. They each smashed solo home runs to help the Phillies wrap up a 7-3 home stand. But it was the bullpen that was the story in the Phillies 5-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Cole Hamels lasted just five innings, but was backed by solid defense. In the first inning, Omar Infante rounded third as Werth threw a laser to Carlos Ruiz, who applied the tag. Infante was gunned down, and the inning came to an end. Hamels allowed three earned runs on eight hits. He struck out five, but was a tad wild as he walked four. Luckily for Hamels, he received run support unlike his last start.
The Phillies loaded the bases in the first inning. Werth was hit by a pitch by Kenshin Kawakami to force in a run. Ibanez followed with a shallow fly ball to right field. It was nowhere deep enough to score a run, however when Chase Utley is on third base, nothing is shallow enough. Melky Cabrera took his time, and Utley took advantage and tagged from third to score. By the third inning, the Phillies led 4-0 thanks to home runs by Polanco and Werth.
The Braves inched back off Hamels, but the bullpen stepped in and dominated. Chad Durbin pitched two perfect innings and struck out four. Jose Contreras has made us all forget about his poor spring training. He threw a scoreless inning to set it up for Brad Lidge.
Eric Hinske and Infante hit two loud fly balls. On any day, those balls probably would have left the yard, but thankfully the wind knocked them down. After all the fans took a deep breath, Lidge retired Martin Prado to record his first save of the season.
The Phillies’ bullpen combined for four scoreless innings. Nor Durbin, Contreras or Lidge allowed a single base runner. The bullpen needs to continue this sort of dominance, and the Phillies will continue to succeed.