Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels was pounded for 3 first inning runs and lasted only five innings on Thursday as the Phils fell behind to San Francisco early by a 5-0 score. Giants lefthander Jonathan Sanchez carried a 1 hit shutout into the ninth before centerfielder Shane Victorino led off with a single, his 2nd hit of the game. The hit chased Sanchez who was replaced by reliever Sergio Romo who gave up a single to 2nd baseman Chase Utley. After rightfielder Jayson Werth struck out, 1st baseman Matt Sweeney doubled in 2 runs to break the shutout. But closer Brian Wilson came on to get leftfielder Raul Ibanez to fly out to end it as the Giants’ Sanchez shut down the Phillies by a 5-2 score in their series final.
By losing, the Phils missed an opportunity to pick up a game on NL East-leading Atlanta which lost to Washington. The Phils remain 2 1/2 games behind the Braves. The Phils also dropped a game off of their lead over the Giants, which is now 1 game, in the NL Wildcard race. The third place Florida Marlins moved to 10 1/2 games behind the Braves and 8 games behind the Phils by beating Pittsburgh. The fourth place Mets lost to Houston and are 11 games back of the division leaders.
The AP game recap for Yahoo describes a disappointing offensive performance by the Phillies who flubbed an opportunity to gain ground on the Braves and put some ground between themselves and the Giants in the Wild Card race:
Sanchez (9-8) redeemed himself against the Phillies, becoming the first Giants starting pitcher to record a win in 15 games, dating to his victory over Colorado on Aug. 3. No runner reached second base against the lefty, who retired 15 straight after hitting Chase Utley with a pitch in the fourth.
“He had a great look about him,” Bochy said.
Sanchez, who was vying for his first complete game since his no-hitter against San Diego on July 10, 2009, came out to start the ninth with a 5-0 lead. He gave up a leadoff single to Shane Victorino and was pulled with a 2-0 count on Placido Polanco.
Sergio Romo retired Polanco on a fly ball, but Utley singled and Mike Sweeney hit a two-out, two-run double. Bochy then went to closer Brian Wilson, who retired Raul Ibanez on a fly ball for his 34th save in 37 opportunities.
“We needed the game, to start winning again,” Sanchez said. “We lost three games in row. To come back is good for us. I was just trying to go out, get ahead and make them swing.”
Victorino had the Phillies’ first hit, a hard single up the middle in the third.
Pablo Sandoval connected for the Giants, hitting his ninth homer of the season and first while batting right-handed. Last season, he hit 25 homers, six off left-handed pitchers.
The Giants, who had scored three or fewer runs in each of their past five games, jumped on Cole Hamels (7-10) for three in the first. Freddy Sanchez singled and scored on a double by [Buster] Posey, who is 11 for 25 (.444) in his last six games. Jose Guillen and Juan Uribe added RBI singles later in the inning.
Sanchez took it from there.
“You get a couple of runs and you start pitching relaxed,” Sanchez said.
Hamels had received eight runs of support in his previous six starts combined, including losing consecutive 1-0 decisions. He departed after yielding five runs and seven hits in five innings.
“I wasn’t able to hit my spots,” Hamels said. “When I finally did, they hit me. You have to get ahead of them. I wasn’t able to execute. When you give up three in the first, it’s tough to come back. When they put up five, it’s really tough.”
To view the scores of all of Thursday’s games, click here.
In Friday’s opener, ace Roy Halladay is opposed by Washington’s Jason Marquis. On Saturday, Kyle Kendrick is opposed by Nationals’ rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg in his first career start against the Phils.