Domonic Brown wants to pump the brakes immediately. Before anyone gets too far gone about the Phillies’ offense or Brown gets too excited about his big night, let’s take a pause.
“It definitely feels good, but it’s just one game though, fellas,” Brown said. “One game.”
Still, with a 12-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay), it was the kind of game the fellas have been waiting to see. In breaking a four-game losing skid and an inexplicable 23-inning scoreless streak, the Phillies got going Saturday night and didn’t stop.
Brown and Cody Asche sparked the offense in a six-run fourth inning. It was Asche’s two-run double on his way to a 2 for 4 and three RBIs night that got the Phillies on the board for the first time since last Tuesday. A few pitches later, Brown’s two-run bomb into the second deck in right field opened the floodgates.
For Brown it was just his second homer of the season and his second since Aug. 14, 2013. He also added a bases-loaded double to drive in three more on his way to a career-best five RBI game.
Maybe it all got started with a fastball?
Facing a 3-0 pitch from Homer Bailey, Brown and manager Ryne Sandberg had an inkling a fastball was coming, so he got the green light. Perhaps, wondered Sandberg after the game, Brown can use that 3-0 fastball to get himself going.
“He can be aggressive on that type of pitch so it will be nice to see that type of aggressiveness on some fastball counts,” Sandberg said.
That’s the great unknown, of course, and it’s why Brown was so quick to warn about getting too swelled of a head after the big night. After all, the Phillies’ runs came in bunches against the Reds, adding five in the seventh and another in the eighth.
However, for as languid as the Phillies have been during the past week, sometimes all it takes is one hit, one run or one swing. When Asche doubled home Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd it was as if an alarm went off in the Phillies’ dugout. Asche, Brown, Byrd and Carlos Ruiz had two hits apiece and only Howard was excluded from the hit parade amongst the starting eight.
That would be a bad thing if Howard hadn’t drawn a pair of walks and scored twice.
“It was big,” Sandberg said about Asche’s double in the fourth. “We were looking for something to build on and we were able to build on it for the rest of the game. That was the hit that sparked everybody and loosened up the bats with everybody up and down the order. It shows the potential of the lineup. Everybody was hitting together against a quality starter.”
Better yet, it was all the offense starting pitcher Cole Hamels usually gets in a handful of starts. Coming off an outing where he threw 133 pitches and turned over a three-run lead to the bullpen in the ninth, Hamels had nothing to show for the effort. In Saturday’s game, the runs gave Hamels the chance to pick up his 100th career win.
Then again, Hamels pitched well enough that he didn’t need too much help.
The lefty got through seven innings with just 90 pitches allowing three hits, two walks and a run. He also stuck out 10 batters for the second straight outing, including three in a row on just nine pitches during the third inning.
“It was good to get some runs for Cole. He was out there pitching his ass off,” Asche said. “It was good to get some support for him and allowed him to settle.”
He settled in pretty well. After the first inning, Hamels allowed just one more hit and retired 18 of the 20 hitters he faced. In doing so, Hamels is just the seventh pitcher in the modern era to collect 100 wins with the Phillies. He needs one more to tie Curt Schilling and potentially could catch Curt Simmons (115) by the end of the season.
Hamels also notched his 25th double-digit strikeout game, which is tied for third in franchise history with Jim Bunning.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to start something,” Hamels said. “The hitting was tremendous, to see guys battle. Guys were fouling off pitches until they got the pitch they wanted. If we can keep that for tomorrow and into the road trip would be great.”
Indeed it would, but as Brown warned, it’s just one game.
“We’re one of those teams where a couple guys get a hit or a knock, it’s contagious,” Brown said. “You guys saw that tonight. You just have to try to continue to keep moving forward.”
The Phillies and Reds finish the three-game series Sunday afternoon when Cliff Lee (3-4, 3.23) takes on lefty Tony Cingrani (2-2, 3.34).