Hamels stellar again, gets no-decision in loss
As Charlie Manuel charmed one of the larger 2014 crowds Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park, the former manager motioned toward the home dugout. He transferred the honor bestowed upon him to the men who performed for him.
"I had quite a few great players," Manuel said before the Phillies lost to the Mets, 2-1, in 11 innings. "A lot of them are standing in the dugout."
That, of course, is a subject of frustration for Phillies fans. Many players from the franchise's past success now generate consternation. But Cole Hamels is excluded. When Hamels pitches, the anger is suspended.
Hamels fired seven more stellar innings, but that was not enough to avoid another night of extra innings. He received a no-decision because his teammates provided little support and Domonic Brown misread a fly ball to left field.
Carlos Ruiz tied the game in the seventh with a solo homer, his first since June 7.
Hamels, pitching better than ever, has a 2.37 ERA this season. That ranks fourth in the National League behind Clayton Kershaw (1.82), Johnny Cueto (2.04) and Adam Wainwright (2.28).
The Phillies lefthander pitched seven or more innings and allowed one or no runs in each of his last five starts. No Phillies pitcher has had a longer such streak since Steve Carlton, who did it in six straight starts during his memorable 1972 season. Hamels' ERA in those five starts is 0.73.
He did not possess pinpoint control Saturday. He walked three; just two walked against him in 30 previous innings. He plunked Juan Lagares to start the third but pitched around it. The Mets hit into two double plays. No ball left the infield until Eric Campbell's flyout to end the fourth inning.
Manager Ryne Sandberg agreed Hamels is one of the season's silver linings.
"Yeah I would say so," Sandberg said. "Pretty much right from the get-go when he joined us with the way he's been consistent and maybe even got better along the way. He's been repeating five or six or seven outings with quality. His game adjustment is very good for what's working that day, what he sees from the hitters."
New York scored in the fifth. Lucas Duda started it with a single to center. He moved to second on a passed ball. Lagares skied a Hamels change-up to shallow left. Brown froze and broke too late. He almost collided with shortstop Jimmy Rollins. That loaded the bases; a Wilmer Flores groundout scored Duda.
Brown started for the first time in nine games. Sandberg said the move helped keep Grady Sizemore, who pinch-hit and grounded out, fresh. . . . Darin Ruf has just 11 plate appearances in the last 12 games. He pinch-hit in the 10th and grounded out. . . . Sean O'Sullivan will stay in the rotation as the fifth starter. His next turn is Tuesday in California against Mike Trout and the Angels.