Phillies give Hamels late support to top Cardinals
By Jenifer Langosch and Todd Zolecki
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies ace Cole Hamels is getting plenty of attention this season because of his availability in a trade. He showed Monday night in a 4-1 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium why he should have plenty of pursuers before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Hamels allowed four hits, one run, four walks and struck out nine in seven innings as he improved to 1-2 with a 3.19 ERA.
"Cole really seemed to step it up a notch after he got the run support," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.
Cards starter John Lackey opened the evening with six scoreless innings before being knocked around in a three-run seventh. He was staked to an early lead when Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta and Matt Holliday singled in succession with two outs in the third. However, lack of execution on Lackey's attempted sacrifice and Jon Jay's caught stealing on a botched hit-and-run thwarted a bigger inning for the Cards.
"He's got good stuff," Jay said of Hamels. "Everyone talks about the changeup, but he's got a cutter, curveball and fastball, too, and [Carlos] Ruiz is a good catcher back there. He did a good job of mixing it up back there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Phillies finally break through: The Phillies entered the night averaging 2.58 runs per game, which were the fewest in baseball and fourth-lowest average by a team since 1900. They also had scored just three runs for Hamels in his first four starts this season. But they scored three runs for Hamels in the seventh, thanks to a hit-and-run and Ben Revere's ground-rule double, which dropped on the left-field line. More >
Reynolds wrapped up: Noting after Sunday's loss that he had been responsible for leaving "a small village on base," Mark Reynolds left another group stranded on Monday. After three consecutive third-inning singles gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead, Hamels walked Matt Adams to load the bases for Reynolds. Reynolds helped Hamels out of the mess by grounding out to end the inning.
Pap and Giles close it out:Jonathan Papelbon picked up the 111th save of his Phillies career, putting him one shy of tying Jose Mesa for the franchise record. Ken Giles pitched a scoreless eighth. The Phillies have won 16 consecutive games when they have pitched in the same game.
Flat Stanley: The Cardinals' offense had one last gasp, putting two aboard against Papelbon in the ninth. One day after being called up to the Majors, Cody Stanley was called upon to pinch-hit as the potential tying run. He struck out to end the game.
"I don't think I'm going to address that. Sorry." -- Hamels, with a chuckle, when asked if he would welcome a trade to St. Louis. Hamels had just finished raving about pitching at Busch Stadium, and how the Cardinals always are one of the top teams in the National League Central.
"I didn't have much to do with that. That found me, I think." -- Lackey, on snaring a Revere line drive in the fifth inning to start a double play.
GONZALEZ UP, NERIS DOWN
The Phillies announced after the game that right-hander Hector Neris has been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make room for rookie right-hander Severino Gonzalez, who will make his big league debut Tuesday night.
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies: Gonzalez makes his big league debut against the Cardinals. He is ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the No. 15 prospect in the organization. Gonzalez went 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA in three starts this season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Cardinals:Michael Wacha takes the mound seeking his fourth win of the year in the game against the Phillies on Tuesday. Wacha, who has allowed one run in each of his three starts, will be facing the Phillies for the first time. Jason Heyward is expected back in the lineup behind him. The game is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. CT.