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Hamels evens record, Howard keeps driving in runners as Phils win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Cole Hamels helped the surging Phillies keep pace in the NL wild-card race Wednesday night. The Washington Nationals did their part, too.

Hamels pitched eight strong innings and Ryan Howard hit a two-run double to lead Philadelphia to a 5-1 victory over Washington on Wednesday night.

The Phillies, just a half-game behind NL wild-card leader San Diego, won for the eighth time in 11 games. They also took advantage of two errors and some mental miscues that left Nationals manager Frank Robinson angry afterward.

The 22-year-old Hamels (7-7), who started the season with Class-A Clearwater, had little trouble in this one. He gave up only four hits with three strikeouts and two walks before Arthur Rhodes came on in the ninth. Hamels threw 104 pitches, 69 for strikes, in one of his best efforts.

"I definitely think I lucked out a little bit because I didn't have all three pitches working," Hamels said. "But just having two, and obviously facing them the past two games, letting them know what I do have, keeps them a little more off balance."

Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said his team is having fun now that it's back in the wild-card race and over .500 at 67-65.

"We're loose and we play hard," Manuel said. "Of course, we've played hard all year long, at times we just didn't play consistently. Right now, we're doing pretty good."

The Nationals had few scoring chances and got their only run on Alfonso Soriano's 43rd homer in the eighth.

Philadelphia helped Hamels with a two-out, three-run rally in the third.

Jimmy Rollins singled and Shane Victorino walked before Chase Utley lined an RBI single off second baseman Jose Vidro's glove. Howard followed with a two-run double over center fielder Ryan Church's head to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead.

"When you can go out there and get the pitcher something to work with, it gives him confidence to go out there and shut the other team down," Howard said. "Obviously, I got a pitch to hit and didn't miss it. It was a 3-0 fastball and (Ortiz) put it right down the middle."

That inning upset Robinson because he thought Vidro should have made his play -- something the second baseman later agreed with -- and the Nationals were trying to pitch around Howard. But Ortiz threw a fastball over the plate on a 3-0 count.

The Phillies added a run in the sixth thanks to more Washington trouble on left fielder Soriano's two-base error with one out. Pat Burrell reached when Soriano and Church converged and neither could catch his fly ball on the warning track.

Soriano was charged with the error, and the Phillies later loaded the bases with one out. Abraham Nunez made it 4-0 with an RBI groundout.

Nunez hit a high chopper that Washington starter Ramon Ortiz (9-12) could do nothing with until it came down. By that point, Ortiz's only option was a throw to first while Burrell scored.

Washington also made some other mistakes that stretched its losing streak to four. The Nationals have dropped nine of 10.

"That's a losing team," Robinson said. "The way we played tonight, and the way we've been playing recently, that's a losing team."

Ortiz also was upset afterward, despite going six innings and keeping the Nationals close.

"Nothing is coming together," he said. "We lose a lot of games."

Washington missed on its best scoring chance in the sixth. Ryan Zimmerman singled but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Nick Johnson's double. Rollins made a perfect relay throw from short left field to get Zimmerman.

Pinch-hitter David Dellucci's sacrifice fly in the ninth gave the Phillies their final run.

Notes

  • Washington C Brandon Harper got his first major league error in an unusual way when his toss back to Ortiz in the second sailed into center field and Jeff Conine advanced to second.
  • Ortiz hit two batters with pitches has plunked a team-high 17 hitters this season.
  • Utley's RBI single broke an 0-for-24 skid against Washington.
  • Conine doubled in the eighth for his first hit with the Phillies since being acquired from Baltimore on Sunday.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Philadelphia catcher Chris Coste tags out Washington 3B Ryan Zimmerman at home plate.  (AP)
Philadelphia catcher Chris Coste tags out Washington 3B Ryan Zimmerman at home plate. (AP)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

C. Hamels
IP 8.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 2
K 3
Philadelphia

S. Victorino
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS5220010 .278
Shane Victorino, CF4130100 .287
Chase Utley, 2B5111004 .313
Ryan Howard, 1B4012111 .296
Pat Burrell, LF2100110 .258
    Chris Roberson, LF0000000 .212
   a- David Dellucci, PH-LF0001000 .307
Jeff Conine, RF4010005 .265
Chris Coste, C4010002 .346
Abraham Nunez, 3B3001100 .196
Cole Hamels, P4000034 .121
    Arthur Rhodes, P0000000 .000
Totals355954616 
a-hit a sacrifice fly for Roberson in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ryan Howard (17, Ortiz), Jeff Conine (21, Schroder)
SF - David Dellucci (3)
RBI - Chase Utley (80), Ryan Howard 2 (127), David Dellucci (35), Abraham Nunez (20)
2-OUT RBI - Chase Utley (23), Ryan Howard 2 (47)
SB - Jimmy Rollins (30, 2nd base off Ortiz/Harper)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Pat Burrell 1
DP - Utley-Howard
E - Ryan Howard (14, )
Philadelphia Phillies
Cole Hamels (W,7-7) 8411231 4.50
Arthur Rhodes 1000100 4.89
Pitches-Strikes - Cole Hamels 104-69, Arthur Rhodes 11-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cole Hamels 12-9
Batters Faced - Cole Hamels 30, Arthur Rhodes 3
Washington Nationals
Alfonso Soriano, LF4111011 .295
Felipe Lopez, SS4000010 .273
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4010000 .283
Nick Johnson, 1B3010100 .286
Austin Kearns, RF3000103 .262
Jose Vidro, 2B4000003 .294
Ryan Church, CF3010000 .255
Brandon Harper, C2000102 .350
Ramon Ortiz, P1000010 .085
    Chris Schroder, P0000000 .000
   a- Henry Mateo, PH1000000 .214
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Wagner, P0000000 .333
Totals29141339 
a-grounded out for Schroder in the 8th
Batting
2B - Nick Johnson (38, Hamels)
HR - Alfonso Soriano (43, Hamels)
SH - Ramon Ortiz (6)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (84)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Vidro-F. Lopez-N. Johnson
E - Brandon Harper (1, Wild throw from catcher to pitcher), Alfonso Soriano (11, )
Washington Nationals
Ramon Ortiz (L,9-12) 6543220 5.34
Chris Schroder 2200140 4.11
Jon Rauch 0.2211100 3.31
Ryan Wagner 0.1000000 4.70
IBB - Burrell by Ramon Ortiz, Nunez by Chris Schroder, Howard by Jon Rauch
HBP - Burrell (by Ramon Ortiz), Conine (by Ramon Ortiz)
Pitches-Strikes - Ramon Ortiz 93-58, Chris Schroder 32-18, Jon Rauch 12-5, Ryan Wagner 3-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ramon Ortiz 10-6
Batters Faced - Ramon Ortiz 27, Chris Schroder 9, Jon Rauch 5, Ryan Wagner 1
Game Information
Attendance - 24438
Game Time - 2:21
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Bruce Dreckman, Second Base - Larry Poncino, Third Base - Ed Hickox