Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels got tagged for back-to-back two out 1st inning Chicago solo homers but settled down and went 8 innings only giving up 4 more hits, walking 1 and striking out 8. 2nd baseman Chase Utley, with a 2 run 4th inning homer and 4 RBIs drove the Phillies offense as they took the 2nd game of the series from the White Sox by a 7-3 score.
With the New York Mets, in an 8th loss in 9 games slump, losing to the LA Dodgers by a 4-1 score on 3 Dodger homers on 3 pitches and the Minnesota Twins defeating the Atlanta Braves by 7-3, the Phils have quietly crept back into the thick of the NL East race after their 4-11 start in April. The trail the Mets by a mere 3 games, where less than 2 weeks ago the Mets were up by 8. They trail the 2nd place Braves by 2 games.
In the 1st inning, Hamels retired the first 2 hitters he faced on a fly out to right centerfield and a foul out to rightfield. But 1st baseman Paul Konerko and rightfielder Jermaine Dye hit back-to-back homers causing a concern about a repeat of the 6th inning, the back-to-back-to-back homers, of Hamels’ previous start against the Mets. However, Hamels quickly settled down striking out shortstop Jose Uribe to end the inning.
The Phils offense, featuring Chase Utley took charge from there. They loaded the bases in the bottom of the first with 2 out. White Sox starter and losng pitcher Jose Contreras walked leftfielder Pat Burrell forcing in the Phils 1st run. Then 3rd baseman Greg Dobbs singled to rightfield driving in 2 runs and the Phils were up 3-2 after 1 inning.
With 2 out and a man on in the 2nd inning, Utley homered to rightfield to put the Phils up by 5-2. In the 4th inning, Hamels led off with a single to rightfield, once again helping his own cause. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins followed with a double to right centerfield putting runners on 2nd and 3rd base. Rightfielder Shane Victorino lined out to third base. Utley then followed with a 2 run single to rightfield to cap the Phillies’ scoring for the game.
But Utley’s performance was by no means one-dimensional. AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi relates the great defensive play Utley made in the 4th inning;
Utley made a spectacular defensive play at second base to rob Dye in the fourth inning. He made a diving, backhanded catch on a hard, one-hopper up the middle and threw from his knees to retire Dye.
Maaddi also recaps White Sox starter Jose Contreras’ performance;
Contreras (4-7) allowed seven runs — five earned — and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings. It was his shortest outing since lasting one inning against Cleveland on opening day.
“I felt good, but didn’t think I had any pop on my fastball,” Contreras said through an interpreter.
Meanwhile, Hamels got through the subsequent 7 innings with little problem, spreading out 4 hits and a walk and never allowing more than 1 runner on base in any inning.
For the scores, boxscores and recaps on this and all of Tuesday’s games, click here.
In Wednesday’s series final, rookie Kyle Kendrick, called up to take the roster spot of the injured Freddy Garcia, starts his first major league game facing another rookie, lefthander John Danks for the White Sox.
The Phils, who have an open day on Thursday, are hoping for their first home series sweep of the season.
On Friday, the Phils entertain the Detroit Tigers for a 3 game series through Sunday. The Tigers are fresh off of Justin Verlander’s complete game No-Hit 4-0 shutout of the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday. Verlander, with an assortment of 100+ mph fastballs, dazzling curves and baffling changeups, walked 4 and struck out 12.
For the scores, boxscores and recaps on this and all of Wednesday’s games, click here.