Here's a game story with quotes; the game ended too late to get this final version into the paper.
By Robyn Norwood
LOS ANGELES— Cole Hamels started the last game the Phillies played at Dodger Stadium.
They left Chavez Ravine that October night headed for the World Series after clinching the National League Championship Series.
This time, Hamels got to finish the game on the mound, too.
The celebration was more muted after the Phillies’ 3-0 victory Thursday, their seventh win in a row. But it was a sparkling performance by Hamels, whose five-hitter was the fifth complete game and third shutout of his career.
After faltering in his previous start, Hamels (4-2) could hardly have been sharper, striking out five as he thwarted the Dodgers by retiring 18 of the last 20 batters he faced. He needed only 97 pitches to complete a nine-inning shutout.
Hamels kind of likes this place, actually.
“I do,” he said with a little smile. “It’s a good mound, actually. The ballpark is nice and big, and the weather is always cool.”
Manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee talked about how Hamels was able to keep the ball down, and because the Dodgers put the ball in play instead of fouling off a lot of pitches, his pitch count stayed low. And on a cool Los Angeles evening, Hamels didn’t tire.
“Complete games nowadays are a big deal, especially when you shut somebody out,” Manuel said.
After last season, Hamels probably didn’t expect to fight some of the battles he has this season. But he had pitched well recently until his unsettling most recent start, an eight-hit, six-run outing against Washington on Saturday in a game the Phillies won nonetheless.
He was back on his game Thursday.
“This is the best he’s pitched this year,” Manuel said. “This was a good game for him, the way the season has been, a big game for him.”
The question was how long the Phillies would have to wait to get on the scoreboard themselves.
The Phillies didn’t get a hit off Dodger starter Clayton Kershaw (3-4) until the fourth inning, when Chase Utley led off with a double. He gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead after he moved to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Howard.
The Phillies tried to add to their slender lead in the fifth, but Kershaw got Jimmy Rollins to fly out to right with two outs and runners on second and third to end the inning.
Kershaw was fading, though, and the Phillies chased him the next inning after Jayson Werth singled with one out, moved to second on a walk to Ryan Howard and scored on a double to the left-center field gap by Raul Ibanez for a 2-0 lead.
Some apparent base-running confusion led to Howard being tagged out between third and home squandering a chance to score.
But the Phillies added another run in the seventh when Werth’s single up the middle drove in Carlos Ruiz, who singled and managed to steal second.
There is some good karma here for the Phillies. Some of the players gave a nod to it Thursday, and others packed it away like old news clippings.
“No question, when you get back here, you remember what happened last year, having a nice celebration afterward,” said closer Brad Lidge, who was on the mound for the final out in October.
“There’s a little bit of that when you get here. You kind of think about what we did,” Lidge said before the game.
“Then you realize, hey, it’s a new season. This season’s got new battles to fight.”