Hamels Hammers Nats as Werth Returns to Philly
As the Washington Nationals came to town, so did Jayson Werth. In his first return to Philly since departing for “greener” pastures, Werth stepped to the plate amidst some boo’s from the fans. But within seconds, the cheers silenced the boo’s and Werth was welcomed back with the thanks he deserved for helping to bring Philly a World Championship in 2008.
Werth earned a little more love after the tip of his cap as he misplayed a ball that ended up as a triple for Jimmy Rollins. He subsequently made an off-line throw home, allowing Rollins to score on a Placido Polanco sac fly.
Rollins led off today, with Shane Victorino and then Polanco to follow. Shaky up the line-up a bit and putting J-Roll back in his comfort zone was likely meant to spark the offense, which has been sleepy for a while.
Raul Ibanez finally broke his hitless streak tonight which ended at 0-35. He hit a double in the fourth inning. That streak tied as second worst hitless streak for a Phillie; Joe Morgan went 0-35 in 1983 and Desi Relaford still holds the #1 spot with his 0-36 in 1998.
Although the streak was broken, Ibanez still left the bases loaded in the fifth inning. He swung at the first pitch after Nats pitcher Livan Hernandez had just walked the previous batter. But Ibanez was redeemed in the seventh with an RBI-double. Those two hits had to feel really good after an 0-35 stretch.
But luckily for the Phillies, Cole Hamels was not just pitching tonight; he was hitting as well. Hamels whacked a two-out triple in the third. Rollins then knocked him in for the first run of the night.
In the fourth, another odd thing happened. The Nationals intentionally walked Pete Orr, who had batted .154 in his previous four games, to load the bases. Then with a 2-0 count in his favor, catcher Brian Schneider swung and gave the Nats the double play they were hoping for.
But Hamels kept the team in the game, allowing only four hits in his first seven innings. In the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies added on a few runs for a 4-1 lead. Then in the eighth, Hamels smacked his second hit of the night, a single. Yes, the pitcher was a mere homer and double away from hitting for the cycle ;o)
But Hamels did not need to hit for the cycle to impress. He stayed in for the ninth and got his first complete game of the year, while only allowing one run. But I am willing to bet he is still prouder of the two hits ;o)
Roy Oswalt was supposed to start today, but he is still in Mississippi taking care of tornado damage at his house. The Phillies had enough days off to move the rotation up a day, which worked out just fine for Hamels. FYI – Oswalt will be back for his next start.
But first, Vance Worley will make his second start of the year tomorrow. Game time is 7:05pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography