Hamels gets W despite control issues

WASHINGTON -- If you wanted to give Cole Hamels a letter grade for his seasonal debut Wednesday night against the Washington Nationals, you'd need three letters.

The first two: O and K.

The last one: W.

"He had trouble with his command," manager Charlie Manuel said after Hamels allowed three runs -- two earned -- in five innings. "He'll have better stuff once he gets his command down. He walked four and he was behind the hitters a lot. In order for him to go deep into the game, he'll have to pitch better than that early. For his first time out, he was O.K."

Hamels left after five innings with a 6-3 lead because he had thrown 103 pitches and only 63 of them were strikes. Despite pitching just O.K., he did pick up the W because the Phillies' offense, which included an RBI single from Hamels, collected 11 more hits and eight more runs, giving them 20 runs and 24 hits in their first two games.

The only truly bad inning for Hamels was the bottom of the third when he threw an 0-1 sinker that Ian Desmond blasted over the center-field wall for a two-out home run.

"It was a straight sinker," Hamels said. "It didn't sink."

Hamels said that was the only sinker he threw the entire night.

"It's a work in progress," Hamels said. "I don't have a Roy Halladay sinker yet."

After the home run, Hamels issued consecutive walks to Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn before giving up an RBI single to Josh Willingham.

The Nationals scored an unearned run in the fourth when Nyjer Morgan reached on a two-out error by Ryan Howard and Desmond followed with an RBI double. Howard made up for his miscue in the fifth with a two-run homer that gave Hamels and the Phillies a 6-3 lead, making a winner of Hamels.

"No matter what it looks like, you just have to battle," Hamels said. "It's not always going to be clear and clean when you're not able to hit your spots."

It was O.K. It was a W.