It didn't take Cole Hamels long to recover from a rough 2011 debut and a
smattering of boos that became the talk of the town for a day (btw,
on Hamels booing Adam Eaton, pretty funny). Cole came out on Sunday
like a man without a damn thing on his mind, and he sawed through the
Atlanta Braves lineup for seven shutout innings. He struck out eight,
walked one, and allowed four hits.
While Hamels wasn't given an abundance of run support (stop me if you've
heard this one before), Shane Victorino led the way as he had all
series, and Cole left the mound with a 2-0 lead. The Phils would add a
third run on a Ryan Howard sacrifice and go on to win the game by a 3-0
count and with it, the first series against the Braves. Rollins'
crossing the plate marked the first run given up by Braves closer Craig
Kimbrel, who actually hadn't even given up a hit or a walk before
Sunday, when he gave up each. [side note: I can't hear Kimbrel's name
without thinking, George Costanza could spell that!]
Victorino hit a sixth inning homer and went 3-4 out of the leadoff
spot, capping a brilliant series in which he was 9-13 with five runs
scored. Each of his three hits came leading off the inning, two of which
resulted in runs scored. A day after coming in to knock a pinch hit
home run, followed by a double, Carlos Ruiz stayed hot with a pair of
hits on Sunday. Derek Lowe kept the Phillies from doing much damage, but
he wasn't quite as good as Hamels on the day.
Hamels had a nasty set of pitches working, particularly his
knee-buckling change-up. Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras picked up the
eighth and ninth, preserving the shutout while allowing just one hit
between them (Madson). Contreras' buckling Dan Uggla for the 2B's second
K of the game was a nice way to finish off the series. Take that, start of the work week.
The Phils have Monday off before heading to Washington, where Joe
Blanton will open the series against Livan Hernandez and the Nationals.
Oh and Jayson Werth. You may hear that name a few times this week.