By Chris Murray
For the CM Report
Without the firepower of slugging first baseman Ryan Howard and Chase Utley in their lineup, the Phillies formula for success will simply come down to grinding out games with good pitching and the ability to somehow manufacture with good base running and timely hitting.
On a day when Cole Hamels was mowing down batters with 10 strikeouts, the Phillies offense finally provided the other end of that equation and came away with an 8-2 win over the New York Mets in front of another sellout crowd at Citizen’s Bank Park.
After scoring just one in the first two games of this series, the Phillies (4-5) scored seven of their eight runs in the final two innings of the game to put the Mets away. With a huge 10-game West coast road trip on the horizon, the Phillies are hoping to have more than a few games where they can score runs in bunches to go along with their great pitching.
“I think all of our starting pitchers know that they’re very capable of holding the opposition if they’re throwing their type of game,” said Phils manager Charlies Manuel. “On some nights, they will give up some runs. Just like today we gave up two early, they got the lead, we hung in there and we came back, we finally had a couple of innings there where we scored runs.”
Sunday’s game against the Mets was a good example of what could happen if the scoring and pitching come together for the Phillies. Hamels started the game by giving up a two-run homer to Ike Davis. The Mets would not score again.
“Cole’s the whole reason we won today,” said Ty Wigginton, who drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh. “They jumped off a 2-0 lead and he didn’t let them get anymore, he shut the door on them. Anytime, you get a pitcher out there battling like that, you want to help him out.”
After the second inning, Hamels settled down and shut down the Mets for the remainder of his time on the mound. In seven innings, the Phillies lefty allowed no runs on five hits along with the 10 strikeouts.
Hamels said he got through that first inning by not panicking and just focusing on the next batter rather than allowing things snowball out of control.
“You put it behind you,” Hamels said. “I think I’ve become pretty good at getting over it and starting back over. No matter what occurred I need to get the next guy out and I think that’s something I’ve had to learn the hard way. You just keep plugging away and if you’re able to do that and keep the intensity and the focus, you’re going to be able to pull away and have games like that.”
In recent years, Hamels has always pitched well enough to win games, but more often than naught, he hasn’t had the kind of run support to help him win games.
Up until the Phillies half of the seventh inning, it looked Hamels was going to be that hard luck loser as the Phils trailed 2-1. Singles by Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence put both them at first and second. A wild pitch by Mets reliever Ramon Ramirez put Rollins at third and Pence at second.
Wigginton’s sac-fly tied the game and Lanyce Nix’s double put the Phillies ahead for good. In the eighth inning, the Phillies exploded with a five-run to put the Mets away. Wigginton capped off his day with a three-run double.
“Anytime you take the field, you want to go out and contribute and help your team win a ball game,” Wigginton said. “Definitely the sac-fly even more so than the double. It’s just a matter of getting out there and getting some results.”
Notes–The Phillies activated veteran reliever Jose Contreras today and optioned pitcher Joe Savery to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.