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News » Hamels returns to form in Phils' win


Hamels returns to form in Phils' win


Hamels returns to form in Phils' win
It w as the kind of outing Cole Hamels -- and the Phillies -- have been waiting for.

Not only did he finally give the Phillies six quality innings (a first this year), but he left the game when his pitch count dictated, instead of when an injury did.

Hamels retired the first 11 batters he faced before allowing two runs on three hits in the fourth. He wound up walking a pair in the sixth, but got great run support in the Phillies' 10-6 win over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

"He didn't run into no freak accidents or bad luck," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said. "That's great."

The club's ace left his last two outings after getting hurt. April 23 against Milwaukee, he came out in the fourth when he was hit by a line drive. Five days later against Washington, he sprained his ankle and headed for the showers in the fifth.

He had made it to the sixth inning just once this season -- April 17 against San Diego -- when he allowed five earned runs.

"Shoot, I'm glad nothing came down and hit me," Hamels said laughing. "It was almost abnormal going out there in the fifth and sixth inning. I was like, "Wow, where am I?"'

Where he was was in the zone. Hamels threw 64 of his 95 pitches for strikes; he walked only two and gave up just three hits, two of which were singles. He fanned seven.

Before the game, Hamels had set his sights on not putting too much pressure on the bullpen.

"I wanted to go somewhat deep into the game because the bullpen's been used," he said. "I think I abused them the first couple games in the season and I want to get back to what I know I'm comfortable with, which is going deep into the game and have them [be able to] count on me to keep the game within reason."

Hamels, though, almost didn't make it all the way through the sixth. With one out, he dished out back-to-back walks to Yunel Escobar and Chipper Jones. By then, his pitch count was in the 80s.

That prompted a visit from Manuel.

"In my mind, when I left the dugout, I was taking him out," Manuel confessed. "Once I got out there, he said, "Charlie, I think I lost my focus. I'm still strong.' And [catcher Chris] Coste said he was still throwing good. Then [Chase] Utley and those guys kind of pitched in a word for him. That don't happen that much. But that was OK. I felt like he definitely could finish the inning. And I think that was good for him."

Hamels was thankful for the support he got from his infielders.

"It helps having my teammates, especially Utley, with his leadership," Hamels said. "He definitely knows a lot about the game. I think I can say anything and everything, but the manager has his mind made up. But I think when a couple other players go, "No. No. Let's keep him in here and get these guys out,' that's great. Having my team's confidence is the best. That's kind of the ultimate goal."

The Phillies got a two-run home run from Jayson Werth and solo shots from Utley and Coste in building an 8-2 lead after five innings.

amanda.housenick@mcall.com

610-820-6187

Phillies 10

Braves 6

Looking ahead: Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton (1-2, 6.84 ERA) takes on Javier Vazquez (RH, 2-3, 4.19) at 3:40 this afternoon in Philly .


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 12, 2009

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