His team, after all, had not managed even one hit while he was in the game during his past two outings. So the 10-spot the Phillies put up in the first inning was reassuring, then laughable, in what became a 22-1 onslaught against the Reds and Citizens Bank Park.
The 21 hits? A season high.
The 10-run first? Tied a franchise high.
The 22 runs? A season high, the fifth most in franchise history and the most since the Phillies scored 26 against the Mets on June 11, 1985.
The Reds' 21-run loss? The worst in the 140-year history of Cincinnati, the Majors' oldest team.
"That's the worst beating I can remember on a baseball field," said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who played in the bigs for 19 seasons and has managed for 16.
"There's not a whole bunch to say. We just got slaughtered."
Shane Victorino, trying to make a his case to win the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote, opened the floodgates with a two-run homer in the first inning. Victorino chased chased Reds starter Johnny Cueto with a walk later in the first. He doubled in the third, again in the fourth, and picked up an RBI single in the eighth. When the smoke cleared, Victorino was 4-for-5 with five runs scored and, tying a career high, four RBIs.
Second baseman Chase Utley (three-run shot) and left fielder Greg Dobbs (two-run blast) joined Victorino's first-inning homer party, and Dobbs also tied a career high with four hits. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins walked twice -- giving him five over three games -- singled twice and doubled. Since snapping an 0-for-28 slide, Rollins is hitting .526 (10-for-19). Baker even called on infielder Paul Janish to pitch, and Jayson Werth responded by hitting a grand slam off him in the eighth.
Every Phillies starter notched at least one hit. All but one recorded at least one RBI. Cueto was removed after just 31 minutes and two-thirds of an inning. He allowed nine runs, all earned, to see his ERA jump from 2.69 to 3.45.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has no regrets that runs come in such dramatic bunches.
"There's no such things as saving runs," said Manuel, wearing an uncharacteristic grin after the game. "If we could do that, I'd definitely save some of them. I'd wait until the ninth inning and I'd reach up. ... You can't do that. That's not the way the game's played."
Even Hamels singled, doubled, drove in a pair and scored two runs.
He also took advantage of the giant lead he was handed cruise through seven innings, throwing just 92 pitches and walking nobody. Johnny Gomes led off the second with a homer, right after the Phils' big inning, but after that, Hamels settled down and allowed just one more hit. No runner reached scoring position in his seven innings.
"They know there's no real shot when you put 10 runs in the first inning," Hamels said. "That kind of defeats them there. So knowing that, you just go out there and try to throw strikes."
It was another big win for the Phillies. They came back from a 3-6 road trip tired and depressed, only to sweep the Mets over the holiday weekend and post all kinds of statistical outliers against the Reds on Monday. After struggling at Citizens Bank Park all season, the bandbox in South Philly looks much friendlier.
"What we're doing right now is fun," said Victorino, who insisted that he wasn't trying to win any votes on the field Monday. "And it's good to do it at home and get on a roll and head into the All-Star break the way we are."