Cole Hamels looked every bit an ace tonight, cooling off the NL Central-leading Cardinals en route to a 4-1 Phillies victory, the club’s second win in as many days. In what some outside observers saw as a possible audition for the Cardinals, Hamels went seven strong, striking out nine while allowing just one earned run on four hits and four walks. Ken Giles struck out two in a scoreless eighth while Jonathan Papelbon secured his 111th save as a Phillie, moving him just one behind Jose Mesa for the club record.
Offense Shows Some, Timley, Moxie
The Cards struck first when Matt Holliday singled to left field to score the red-hot Matt Carpenter. The game would remain 1-0 St. Louis until the Phillies finally broke on to the scoreboard with their seventh hit of the game in the seventh inning, a ground-rule double by Ben Revere that scored Carlos Ruiz and Freddy Galvis. Odubel Herrera would drive in Revere before getting thrown out at second to make the game 3-1 Phils. Darin Ruf, pinch hitting for Giles in the ninth, would drive in Ruiz from third on a ground out to second to put the Phillies up 4-1.
Ruiz had a game-high four hits with two runs scored to raise his average to .260, while Herrera had three hits to raise his average to .300. The Phils were able to put together 11 hits while only striking out twice in what was one of their better offensive performances of the young season. But just four of those hits came from players not named Ruiz or Herrera and one was from Hamels. Chase Utley, Jeff Francoeur, and Ryan Howard combined to go 1-12 in the middle of the line-up with a Howard single being the only hit for the trio while Cody Asche kept his average above .300 with a single.
Notes: The Phillies send 22-year old Severino Gonzalez to the hill tomorrow night in his Major League debut to take on one of the Major’s best in 2015, Michael Wacha (3-0, 1.33 ERA). Gonzalez was 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA, striking out nine in 17.2 IP with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in 2015 and was the recipient of the organization’s Paul Owens‘ Award for best minor league pitcher in 2013. To make room for Gonzalez, the Phils optioned Hector Neris to Lehigh Valley and moved Jonathan Pettibone to the 60-day DL.
Also of note, manager Ryne Sandberg indicated today that outfielder Domonic Brown may not be called up as soon as he is healthy and instead may spend some time in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Brown is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday but is currently hitting .129 in 31 PA with the ‘Pigs.