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Hamels off his game; Phils fall to Cards

Hamels off his game; Phils fall to Cards

ST. LOUIS -- Cole Hamels wiped his brow hard with his arm, as Joe Mather's drive sliced through the humid, sticky air and landed beyond the left-field fence.

He didn't need to watch. He knew where it was heading.

"I missed my spot," Hamels said, of the fastball over the plate. "I was trying to go down and in and it went right over the heart of the plate. It was not the day for myself to locate. I left some pitches up, and they didn't miss them."

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Hamels' second straight subpar effort snapped the team's five-game winning streak, as the Phillies fell, 6-3, to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Friday night. Hamels allowed two homers to run his total to 23, the third-highest total in the National League.

"I need to locate that pitch if I want to have success and put my team in a position to win," Hamels said. "I didn't do that."

Hamels lasted six innings, allowing five runs (four earned). He has surrendered eight home runs in his past five starts, and hasn't won since July 3. Hamels' main location error, as has been the case when he struggles, is leaving fastballs up.

"We were behind a lot, and that made it a little hard for us," said Carlos Ruiz, who sets up even lower when he catches Hamels, as a reminder. "It was just a bad day."

Hamels lasted 3 2/3 innings in his previous start on July 26 against the Braves, and allowed nine runs -- four earned. He received a no-decision in that game on Greg Dobbs' pinch-hit home run capped a comeback against the Braves.

Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse would allow no such comeback.

One day after the Phillies let the non-waiver Trade Deadline pass without making a move, last year's acquisition haunted them. Pitching for the opposition, Lohse ran his record to 13-3 by holding Philadelphia to three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The right-hander held the Phillies hitless until Hamels singled with two outs in the fifth, then tired in the sixth. Victorino started that inning with a double -- extending his hit streak to 12 games -- and scored on Chase Utley's double. Pat Burrell delivered two more runs with his 27th homer of the season, and Lohse left after a double allowed to Geoff Jenkins.

"You're way more tired than your pitch counts," Lohse said. "It was hot tonight."

Lohse, who went jobless all winter before signing a $4.25 million contract in March, is 2-0 against the Phillies this year. He also beat them on June 14.

"It's nothing personal," he said. "I know those guys real well and what they're capable of. I'm not going out there to send a message or saying, but it feels good to go out there and do well against them."

The Phillies didn't record another hit after Jenkins' double. Relievers Russ Springer, Jaime Garcia and Jason Isringhausen finished the game for St. Louis, with Isringhausen recording his first save since May 5.

Ryan Ludwick helped the Cards' cause with two home solo homers.

The Mets lost to the Astros, and the Marlins fell to the Rockies, keeping the Phils' lead at one game over New York and 1 1/2 games over Florida in the National League East.

Though Hamels fared better after the three-run third, the Phillies weren't able to dig out against Lohse.

"He just got behind 4-0 on a guy who was throwing a no-hitter, really," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Once we got behind 4-0, Lohse held us down."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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