"Going into that inning, my main focus was to throw strikes," Hamels said. "I know those guys are the types of guys that would definitely swing at the first pitch and ambush you."Once his clothing was in order Wednesday, so was his effectiveness. Hamels went on a roll, retiring 13 straight batters before he walked Ryan Spilborghs to open the seventh inning. Still, the lefty retired the next two before manager Charlie Manuel called it a day for his young ace, who finished with 115 pitches, with 72 for strikes. "He had just the one inning when he had a little control problem," reliever Brett Myers said. "But he showed you how good he can be, and how composed he can be as a young guy, to be able to get us into the seventh and rebound from that one inning and concentrate on keeping the game close. "With [our] offense, it can happen any time. Unfortunately it didn't happen today." While he suffered the loss, Hamels' ability to work into the seventh inning certainly took the pressure off the bullpen. "I was definitely focused," Hamels said. "When you go out there, you want to succeed, especially at this sort of level in the spotlight. You know, you can be a little hard on yourself, and I think that's what I do a lot of these cases." As the game progressed, the pitching settled as shadows played a factor in the hitters picking up the pitches. "They are a good ballclub," Myers said of the Rockies. "We have to come out and be aggressive [Thursday]. I think we got a feeling that we need to get on them early like they did us. You saw that when the shadows became a factor later in the game. There were several innings when there was nothing going on [offensively]. They got us in an inning they needed to get us, the second inning, before the shadows came in." From Hamels' standpoint, he was more at ease without his long sleeves. "I didn't want to have another second inning like that," the left-hander said.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.