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Hamels dominates Nats, Lidge gets through ninth to finish off sweep

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels is again pitching like Philadelphia's October ace.

Hamels has turned his season around down the stretch for the NL East-leading Phillies, putting himself in position for another postseason run.

Hamels took a perfect game into the sixth inning, masterfully using his changeup while matching a season high with 10 strikeouts and leading the Phillies to a 4-2 victory against the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.

"I think you have to enjoy it," Hamels said. "Sometimes, the games get a little bit more meaningful. The fans know it, we know it. It's just going out there and doing what we know best."

  Playoff Race

Hamels (10-9), the MVP of last season's NL championship series and World Series, allowed one run and five hits in eight strong innings. He even chipped in with an opposite-field RBI single to help the Phillies win their fifth consecutive game.

"There's nothing better than pitching at home in September," he said. "The fans are great and it kind of gives you that extra motivation."

Hamels was as sharp as he has been all season and continued a sensational string of quality starts from Philadelphia's rotation. He finally ran into trouble in the seventh when he gave up a run and loaded the bases. The 25-year-old left-hander got Mike Morse to fly out and struck out Josh Bard to escape the jam.

Hamels retired the first 15 batters before Morse led off the sixth inning with a clean single to left. He quickly regrouped against the last-place Nats, striking out Bard, Jorge Padilla and Justin Maxwell to end the inning.

Hamels got some help in the fourth when third baseman Pedro Feliz made a leaping catch to rob Ryan Zimmerman, sending a spark through the crowd and ending the inning.

Zimmerman had a nice grab of his own when he made a tumbling catch over the tarp and banged his head on the railing to retire Chase Utley in the sixth.

Hamels was looking at a no-decision until the fifth. Feliz walked and scored on Jimmy Rollins' two-out double into left field for a 1-0 lead.

Hamels got ahead of hitters all night and threw 73 strikes in 109 pitches. He walked one.

"That's as good as we've seen him this year," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "All their pitchers did very well against us this year. He had it all going tonight."

Brad Lidge gave up a run in the ninth before finishing for his 30th save in 40 chances. The Phillies (85-60) moved 25 games over .500 for the first time since they finished the 1993 season 97-65.

"We do firmly believe that we have the best team," Hamels said.

Ross Detwiler (0-6) had perhaps his finest start of the season for Washington, striking out six and allowing one run in five innings.

Nice, just not close to perfect.

Hamels struggled for most of this season until finding his way again in late August. He's 3-1 in his past five starts and has the Phillies feeling good about their rotation as they inch closer toward their third consecutive division title. When the Nationals scored off Hamels in the seventh, it ended a streak of 29 straight scoreless innings from the starters.

"This is the best starting pitching we've had since I've been here," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Manuel's only gripe with Hamels was that he favored the change almost too much at the expense of his other pitches. Batters know it's coming, can wait on it and have a better chance of hitting it -- sometimes.

"It can get him in a jam at times," Manuel said. "It took them a long time to get wood on it."

The Phillies scored twice in the sixth to give Hamels a cushion. Ryan Howard scored on a bases-loaded walk to Carlos Ruiz and Hamels added his run-scoring single.

Utley scored on a wild pitch in the seventh to make it 4-1.

Notes

  • The Nationals acquired C Jamie Burke from Seattle for cash and placed C Jesus Flores on the 60-day disabled list.
  • Phillies CF Shane Victorino left in the seventh with a gastrointestinal illness.
  • Nationals C Wil Nieves left with a hamstring injury.
  • Phillies RHP Chan Ho Park will miss two to three weeks with a strained right hamstring. He has a 2.52 ERA in 38 relief appearances.
  • Lidge marked 30 saves for the fourth time in his career.
 
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, who retires his first 15 batters, might be building up toward another big October.  (US Presswire)
Cole Hamels, who retires his first 15 batters, might be building up toward another big October. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

C. Hamels
IP 8.0
H 5
ER 1
BB 1
K 10
Washington

E. Dukes
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Washington Nationals
Justin Maxwell, CF4010011 .233
Cristian Guzman, SS4000021 .289
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4110011 .289
Josh Willingham, LF4010010 .274
Elijah Dukes, RF4121000 .259
Ian Desmond, 2B3001110 .500
Mike Morse, 1B3010003 .286
   a- Willie Harris, PH1000000 .230
Wil Nieves, C1000000 .258
    Josh Bard, C2000024 .232
Ross Detwiler, P1000010 .071
   b- Jorge Padilla, PH1000011 .100
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .333
    Ron Villone, P0000000 .000
    Logan Kensing, P0000000 .000
   c- Alberto Gonzalez, PH1000000 .254
    Marco Estrada, P0000000 .000
Totals33262110  
a-flied out for Morse in the 9th
b-struck out for Detwiler in the 6th
c-flied out for Kensing in the 8th
Batting
2B - Justin Maxwell (3, Hamels)
3B - Elijah Dukes (4, Lidge)
RBI - Elijah Dukes (55), Ian Desmond (5)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Zimmerman-Morse
Washington Nationals
Ross Detwiler (L,0-6) 5411160 5.80
Tyler Clippard 0.2122300 3.38
Saul Rivera 0.1100000 5.40
Ron Villone 0.2011110 4.29
Logan Kensing 0.1000000 10.55
Marco Estrada 1000000 13.50
HBP - Howard (by Ross Detwiler)
WP - Ron Villone (1), Logan Kensing (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Ross Detwiler 87-58, Tyler Clippard 31-15, Saul Rivera 6-4, Ron Villone 16-9, Logan Kensing 7-4, Marco Estrada 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ross Detwiler 6-2, Ron Villone 1-0, Logan Kensing 1-0, Marco Estrada 1-2
Batters Faced - Ross Detwiler 20, Tyler Clippard 6, Saul Rivera 2, Ron Villone 3, Logan Kensing 1, Marco Estrada 3
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4021003 .247
Shane Victorino, CF3000012 .296
   a- Raul Ibanez, PH-LF1000010 .280
Chase Utley, 2B3110110 .296
Ryan Howard, 1B2100113 .269
Jayson Werth, RF-CF3110102 .272
Ben Francisco, LF-RF4010011 .249
Pedro Feliz, 3B3100103 .264
Carlos Ruiz, C3001100 .256
Cole Hamels, P3011021 .127
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Totals2946357  
a-struck out for Victorino in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jimmy Rollins (38, Detwiler)
RBI - Jimmy Rollins (67), Carlos Ruiz (42), Cole Hamels (4)
2-OUT RBI - Jimmy Rollins (35), Carlos Ruiz (14), Cole Hamels (3)
SB - Jimmy Rollins (29, 3rd base off Detwiler/Bard)
Team LOB - 7
Philadelphia Phillies
Cole Hamels (W,10-9) 85111100 4.07
Brad Lidge (S,30) 1111000 7.21
Pitches-Strikes - Cole Hamels 109-73, Brad Lidge 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cole Hamels 6-8, Brad Lidge 1-2
Batters Faced - Cole Hamels 30, Brad Lidge 4
Game Information
Attendance - 45210
Game Time - 2:43
Temperature - 62
Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Ed Rapuano