While Cole Hamels winning his 100th career game was the main story, the return of the Phillies offense in Saturday’s 12-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds was a close second.
Hamels appears to be hitting his stride, striking out 10 for the second straight game.
Nobody is sure, but after snapping a 23-inning consecutive scoreless streak with a six-run fourth inning, the Phillies at least for one night got to feel good about their hitting.
And it came against Homer Bailey, the hard-throwing Reds righthander who had his own scoreless streak of 18 innings against the Phillies before that fourth inning eruption.
There was so much that happened this game.
Cody Asche batted sixth for the first time this year. Domonic Brown moved down a spot to seventh. The two combined to go 4 for 9 with eight RBIs.
Yet there were other items that got lost among all the happenings. For instance John Mayberry Jr.’s RBI double in the seventh inning ended the Phillies 0-for-18 pinch hit drought. Mayberry himself, had been 0 for 14.
Tony Gwynn Jr., snapped an 0-for-18 hitless streak with a fourth inning single.
In the eighth inning Cesar Hernandez hit his first career home run. The ball was sitting in his locker after the game.
Even though Hamels didn’t join in the offensive effort, the fact that this outburst came when he was pitching against the Reds should come as no surprise.
Hamels improved to 9-0 with a 1.49 ERA in 12 career starts against the Reds, which includes the postseason. The Phillies have won all 12 of those starts.
It’s easily forgotten that the Phillies got their first two batters on base when Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz hit singles, and both were stranded.
Bailey in fact, pitched three shutout innings before the Phillies finally caught up to him.
So for one night, the Phillies could feel good about their offense. They scored as many runs in this game as they had in Hamels previous four starts combined.
Manager Ryne Sandberg said before the game that he felt the team could break out at any time. It did against a top-flight pitcher and if nothing else, the Phillies should enter Sunday’s game against LHP Tony Cingrani with renewed confidence in their offensive ability.