Cole Hamels threw a career-high 125 pitches (82 strikes) and went 8.2 innings in a 4-1 victory over the Braves at Turner Field. It was the Phils’ second sweep of the Braves in Atlanta, pushing them now 2.5 games up on the National League East at 47-39.
Hamels struck out seven, walking two and giving up five hits. At one point he retired 11 straight hitters and after a leadoff single in the second inning, he didn’t let up a hit until the eighth. He was dominant, pure and simple.
The offense backed him well, scoring off Jair Jurrjens early. Chase Utley hit his 24th home run of the season in the first inning, then with Hamels rolling, Pedro Feliz singled home Pat Burrell, who doubled to lead off the fourth. Home runs by Ryan Howard (22) and Pedro Feliz (10) rounded out the Phils scoring.
A pretty confident win, overall. It was a little troubling to see the Phils get three runs off homers, then not be able to score Jimmy Rollins, who tripled to leadoff the third inning. The major doubt tonight was whether Hamels was in the game too long. Probably. The last thing the Phils need is Hamels to injure himself because of too many pitches in a pretty safe June game. They could’ve brought in RJ Swindle to see what he has to offer; instead, they’ll never know â€” Swindle was demoted back to AAA Lehigh Valley with JA Happ coming in to start Friday. It’s a bad move. Why not dump the practically useless So Taguchi and run with a shorter bench before the break?
Oh well, they did sweep the Braves. And that’s big enough.
Associated Press photo