By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Sunday Sun
Cole Hamels was looking to become baseball’s only nine-game winner and for the first three innings when the Phillies took a 3-0 lead, it seemed like he was on his way to accomplishling that feat.
But Handley Ramirez of the Miami Marlins hit two homeruns off Cole Hamels (8-2) and the Phillies failed to take advantage of opportunities to get back in the game in the late innings and wound up on the short end of a 5-4 loss on a Saturday afternoon at Citizen’s Bank Park.
Hamels did manage to come up with eight strikeouts in six and two-thirds innings, but just could not stop Ramirez, who started the Marlins comeback with a solo shot to center that had to be reviewed the umpires because a fan reached over and caught the ball. The umpires upheld the homerun call. Hamels also gave up an RBI double Justin Ruggiano that scored first baseman Logan Morrison, who singled after Ramirez’s home run.
“I thought it was a homerun right off the bat,” Hamels said of Ramirez’s first home run. “If it wasn’t going to be a homerun, I was going to be more lucky than anything because I threw the pitch, he guessed right, he hit it and he hit it hard. When that happens, he definitely deserved the homerun. You have to comeback and get the next guy, but I wasn’t able to do that.
The Marlins third baseman put his team up for good with a two-run homer to left off Hamels to give the Marlins a 4-3 lead. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said that Hamels seemed to lose his command in his final two inninngs on the mound.
“He was kind of off there for the final two innings,” Manuel said. “I felt like he got kind of out of whack.”
The Phillies got on the board by scoring runs in each of the first three innings. In the first Carlos Ruiz drove Juan Pierre on a RBI ground out to Morrison at first base. Jimmy Rollins got an RBI-single that scored Placido Polanco. Hunter Pence opened the third inning with a solo homer to right. But that would be all the Phillies would score until the eighth inning.
Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco (6-3)got the win and a had a solid outing against the Phillies and allowed eight hits while striking out five.
The eighth inning looked promising enough for the Phillies. Rollins tripled to right. Pierre would walk and take second on a stolen. A sacrifice fly by Pence drove home Rollins and moved Pierre to third. With three chances to bring home the tying run, the Phillies came up short. First, Victorino walked, but Ruiz struck out swinging on a bad pitch that was way outside the strike zone and first baseman Ty Wigginton also struck out swinging.
The ninth inning also looked liked the Phillies were, at the very least, going to push across the game-tying run. Polanco open the inning with a single to right-center. He was replaced by pinch runner Mike Fontenot and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by second baseman Freddy Galvis, who should have been safe at first because it appeared that Morrison missed the tag.
However, the umpire ruled that Galvis ran outside the baseline. The television replay did not indicate that Galvis ran out of the base line. Manuel said he asked first base umpire Doug Edding to get help from the home plate umpire.
“I didn’t think (Galvis) was out of the base line and I asked for help, (Edding) said he made the call and he said he wasn’t going to ask for it,” Manuel said. “I don’t think Freddy went out of the baseline. He was in the three-foot line and he went to his right a little bit and he established a baseline.”
But the way things turned out, it would not have mattered because Brian Schneider, pinch-hitting for pitcher Raul Valdes, popped out to second and Rollins ended the game by flying out to short.
“We were sitting right there and we could have definitely won the game,” Manuel said. “It’s a matter of getting the big hit at the right time. Today, it didn’t happen.”