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Washington at Philadelphia

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Washington (72-88)000000000062
Philadelphia (88-72) «00003120x690

Phillies blank Nats, get sole possession of first place

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins was reminded of his bold preseason prediction countless times, especially when it seemed the Philadelphia Phillies were going nowhere.

Many snickered. Others criticized. Few outside the locker room believed.

Hey, J-Roll, it took 160 games, but the Phillies finally are the team to beat in the NL East.

"It feels like spring training," Rollins said with a smile.

Cole Hamels struck out 13 in eight dominant innings, Ryan Howard hit his 45th homer and Philadelphia beat Washington 6-0 on Friday night to take over sole possession of first place.

Desperate to end a 14-year playoff drought, the Phillies began the weekend tied with the Mets for the division lead. Free-falling New York dropped one game behind with a 7-4 loss to Florida, and the out-of-town scoreboard was quick to show every Marlins run, drawing raucous cheers from a sellout crowd.

Plenty stuck around to watch at a bar inside Citizens Bank Park and their roar echoed throughout the ballpark when the final out was recorded at Shea Stadium.

The Phillies' magic number to clinch the East is two.

"You don't have nothing until you have it," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Do we smell it? Of course we smell it, and we want it."

Making his third start since missing one month because of a strained elbow, Hamels (15-5) shut down the Nationals with a combination of an overpowering fastball and a nasty curve mixed in with his trademark changeup. He allowed six hits and walked one.

The All-Star lefty struck 10 of 13 batters at one point and hardly broke a sweat.

Clay Condrey finished the six-hitter for Philadelphia's fifth shutout.

"At this point of the season, it's key to go out and have your best game ever," Hamels said.

Rollins gave Hamels all the runs he would need with a two-run single in the fifth off Tim Redding (3-6). Howard crushed a two-run shot to left-center for insurance in the seventh.

After falling short in the final weekend the last two seasons, the Phillies could be heading to the playoffs for the first time since winning the pennant in 1993.

And they're doing it in improbable fashion.

The Phillies were seven games behind the Mets after losing to Colorado on Sept. 12, and hadn't spent a day in first place until tying New York on Thursday night. While the Mets have collapsed, Philadelphia has won 12 of 15.

No major-league team has failed to finish in first after having at least a seven-game lead with 17 to play. If the Mets become the first team to blow a lead that big, it could finally take the '64 Phils off the hook for their infamous collapse.

Those Phillies had a 6½-game lead with 12 to play, only to lose 10 straight and finish tied for second place behind St. Louis.

This resilient group has overcome a 4-11 start and a slew of injuries to capture the hearts of a championship-starved city that hasn't celebrated a title since the NBA's 76ers won it all in 1983.

Like they've done throughout the homestand, fans cheered wildly and waved their white-and-red "Fightin' Phils" towels.

With Hamels pitching like an ace and Howard and Rollins supplying clutch hits, most people paid more attention to the Mets-Marlins score.

Hamels displayed tremendous poise for a 23-year-old in his first full season in the majors. He struck out the side in the fourth and sixth, and fanned everyone in the starting lineup except the pitcher.

Hamels got in trouble once, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the second by getting Redding to ground into an inning-ending double play.

"He was fantastic," Nationals manager Manny Acta said.

Greg Dobbs singled to left leading off the Phillies fifth and Redding then hit Carlos Ruiz on the right hand with a fastball.

Hamels put down a perfect sacrifice, earning a standing ovation from an appreciative crowd that isn't used to seeing the Phillies execute fundamentals.

Rollins hit the next pitch up the middle to score two runs and give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Once again, Rollins was serenaded with chants of "M-V-P" as he stood at first base and pointed to the sky.

"He's done everything a guy can do," Manuel said of his switch-hitting shortstop. "I don't know what else he can do except sell tickets and popcorn."

After Shane Victorino popped out, Chase Utley lined a double off the right-field scoreboard to score Rollins for a 3-0 lead.

Notes

  • Rollins got his 706th at-bat in the third inning to set the single-season major league record. He broke the mark established in 1980 by Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals
  • The 22nd sellout of the season put the Phillies over 3 million in attendance for the third time in club history. They also did it in '93 and 2004, the first year at Citizens Bank Park
  • Ryan Zimmerman's hitting streak ended at 13 games.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Cole Hamels' 13 strikeouts in eight innings are too much for the Nationals to overcome. (AP)
Cole Hamels' 13 strikeouts in eight innings are too much for the Nationals to overcome. (AP)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

R. Howard
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Philadelphia

C. Hamels
IP 8.0
H 6
ER 0
BB 1
K 13
 
Washington Nationals
D'Angelo Jimenez, SS4010021 .248
Ronnie Belliard, 2B4010011 .288
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4000032 .266
Austin Kearns, RF3000021 .265
Wily Mo Pena, LF3010110 .256
Tony Batista, 1B4000013 .260
Jesus Flores, C4010022 .247
Justin Maxwell, CF3020011 .304
Tim Redding, P2000002 .071
    Jonathan Albaladejo, P0000000 .000
    Arnie Munoz, P0000000 .000
    Chris Schroder, P0000000 .000
   a- Nook Logan, PH1000010 .262
    Jesus Colome, P0000000 .000
Totals32060114  
a-struck out for Schroder in the 8th
Batting
2B - D'Angelo Jimenez (7, Hamels)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
PB - Jesus Flores (4)
E - Ronnie Belliard (7, Misplayed grounder), D'Angelo Jimenez (3, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
Tim Redding (L,3-6) 5643230 3.64
Jonathan Albaladejo 1000010 2.03
Arnie Munoz 0.1122001 6.75
Chris Schroder 0.2100130 3.18
Jesus Colome 1100000 3.92
IBB - Howard by Tim Redding
HBP - Ruiz (by Tim Redding), Utley (by Arnie Munoz)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Redding 83-50, Jonathan Albaladejo 12-9, Arnie Munoz 9-5, Chris Schroder 25-15, Jesus Colome 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Redding 4-8, Jonathan Albaladejo 3-0, Jesus Colome 1-2
Batters Faced - Tim Redding 24, Jonathan Albaladejo 4, Arnie Munoz 3, Chris Schroder 5, Jesus Colome 4
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS5112001 .295
Shane Victorino, RF5010001 .283
Chase Utley, 2B4121002 .333
Ryan Howard, 1B4112112 .265
Aaron Rowand, CF4010012 .311
Pat Burrell, LF2010101 .260
    Michael Bourn, PR-LF1110000 .280
Greg Dobbs, 3B3110022 .274
    Abraham Nunez, 3B0000100 .235
Carlos Ruiz, C3100024 .257
Cole Hamels, P3001013 .141
    Clay Condrey, P0000000 .000
Totals3469637  
Batting
2B - Chase Utley (48, Redding), Pat Burrell (26, Redding)
HR - Ryan Howard (45, Munoz)
SH - Cole Hamels (5)
RBI - Jimmy Rollins 2 (93), Chase Utley (102), Ryan Howard 2 (132), Cole Hamels (2)
2-OUT RBI - Chase Utley (39)
SB - Jimmy Rollins (39, 2nd base off Redding/Flores)
CS - Shane Victorino (4, 2nd base by Redding/Flores)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Rollins-Utley-Howard
Philadelphia Phillies
Cole Hamels (W,15-5) 86001130 3.39
Clay Condrey 1000010 5.04
HBP - Kearns (by Clay Condrey)
Pitches-Strikes - Cole Hamels 116-82, Clay Condrey 16-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cole Hamels 3-7, Clay Condrey 1-1
Batters Faced - Cole Hamels 30, Clay Condrey 4
Game Information
Attendance - 45084
Game Time - 3:00
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Bruce Dreckman, Second Base - Phil Cuzzi, Third Base - Rob Drake