Hamels carries Phillies to series win over Rockies
DENVER—The Rockies had a chance to get to Cole Hamels early but couldn't take advantage. The Phillies didn't make that same mistake with Drew Pomeranz.
Hamels got out of a tight spot in the first inning en route to pitching eight innings of one-run ball, Hunter Pence hit a three-run homer and Philadelphia beat Colorado 5-1 Sunday for its first series victory in nearly a month.
Dexter Fowler singled to start the bottom of the first and Marco Scutaro reached when Hamels fielded his sacrifice but overthrew first base for an error. But Hamels then struck out Carlos Gonzalez and Ramon Hernandez in succession, and got Michael Cuddyer to hit an inning-ending groundout.
"We let him off the hook in the first inning," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "From the second inning on, the guy was terrific. He had a great cutter, his changeup was fantastic. He pitched with his fastball to both sides of the plate. Every once in a while, he'd drop the breaking ball in there to remind you that `Hey, I have that one, too.'"
But Pomeranz, a youngster still feeling his way through in the big leagues, got two quick outs on strikeouts in the fifth inning before getting into a jam he couldn't work out of.
Jimmy Rollins singled and took second on an errant pickoff throw by Pomeranz before Shane Victorino drew a four-pitch walk. Hunter Pence worked the count against Pomeranz to 2-2 and then jumped on a 79 mph curveball he sent 20 rows deep into the left field bleachers, giving the Phillies a 5-0 lead with his team-leading 17th homer.
"If I could go back now, I would probably throw something different," Pomeranz said. "If I make that pitch down and in on him, the result doesn't happen. It's a good learning experience."
Pomeranz (1-4) went five innings and allowed five runs on five hits in taking the loss. He struck out five and walked two.
"He made a mistake with two outs walking Shane Victorino on four pitches that brought Pence to the plate," Tracy said. "He hung a breaking ball to Hunter Pence and he hit the three-run homerun. He didn't finish that breaking ball pitch and he hung it. That's what Hunter Pence does when you hang breaking balls in the middle of the plate. He hits them out of the ballpark."
Hamels (11-4) allowed one run on six hits. He struck out seven and walked one.
After dropping the opener, the Phillies took consecutive games from the Rockies for their first series victory since June 19-21, when they also took two of three from the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies, in last place in the NL East, were winless in their previous five series against Tampa Bay (1-2), Pittsburgh (2-2), Miami (0-3), the New York Mets (1-2) and Atlanta (0-3). However, they have kicked off the second half of the season on a positive note.
The Rockies, who hadn't had a base runner reach second since Dexter Fowler led off the bottom of the first with a single and advanced on a sacrifice, broke up Hamel's bid for a fifth career shutout in the sixth inning.
Hamels issued a one-out walk to Marco Scutaro, his only one of the day, and Carlos Gonzalez followed with an RBI triple that went to the wall in left-center field. Hamels prevented further damage by striking out Ramon Hernandez and getting Michael Cuddyer to ground out.
"He was throwing his pitches for strikes," the Rockies Tyler Colvin said of Hamels. "He was working that changeup in there any time in the count and keeping us off balance."
Victorino got the Phillies' offense going in the first by tripling to center. One out later, Carlos Ruiz brought him home with a single to left. The Phillies got another run in the fourth when Ruiz doubled, moved to third on Ty Wigginton's groundout and scored on Placido Polanco's sacrifice fly.
NOTES: RHP Joe Blanton (7-8) will pitch Monday night's series opener at Los Angeles for the Phillies. He'll be opposed by the Dodgers' LHP Chris Capuano (9-4). ... The Rockies open a series Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates and their former manager, Clint Hurdle. LHP Jeff Francis (2-2) goes for the Rockies against the Pirates' RHP Jeff Karstens (2-2). ... Phillies ace Roy Halladay is set to come off the 15-disabled list and start Tuesday night's game against the Dodgers. ... Pence's homer was the seventh hit in his last 16 at bats with runners in scoring position (.437). ... Fowler is batting .464 (13 for 28) over seven games since July 5.