CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cole Hamels looked pretty good Sunday at Osceola County Stadium, but he came away unimpressed.
He allowed a leadoff double to Tyler Greene in the first inning in a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros, but retired the next 14 batters he faced before walking Brandon Laird in the fifth. Hamels, who is the presumed Opening Day starter, allowed one hit, one run, one walk and struck out one in five innings. He pitched so efficiently that he threw in the bullpen afterward to reach his pitch count for the afternoon.
"I was trying to get down in the zone, and I wasn't able to do that in the first inning," Hamels said of his performance. "I had spurts throughout the game where I wasn't really able to execute pitches, but you just keep making adjustments. I was finally able to get a couple good pitches there, but it's not as consistent as where I need it to be. I would say all pitches."
Hamels, who has a 0.90 ERA in three Grapefruit League starts, said he expects about three more spring starts before he is ready for the regular season.
"It's a timing issue that I have," Hamels said about his delivery. "The more reps obviously will help get my timing back. That will allow for everything to start working. I feel strong and I know that's great, but I want to feel strong and you want your timing to be right on target, too."
Greene's double was the only hit the Phillies allowed Sunday.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.