New York (39-30) at Philadelphia (35-36)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Jun 21, 2006
  • TV: YES, CSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Two years ago in spring training, the New York Yankees got a look at Phillies prospect Cole Hamels. He left them very impressed.

Now a rookie, the 22-year-old left-hander will face the Yankees for the first time in the regular season when Philadelphia (35-36) tries to win a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night.

Hamels (1-2, 4.91 ERA) came out of the bullpen to pitch against New York on March 5, 2004 at Legends Field in Tampa, Fla.—less than two years after graduating high school. He pitched two scoreless innings, striking out Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and former Yankee Tony Clark in succession in his second inning of work.

Hamels, who pitched at Single-A Clearwater that season, hasn’t been nearly as dominant since a stint on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained shoulder. He’s 1-2 with a 6.28 ERA in three outings since coming off the DL, and will be making his second career start at home after he allowed six runs and seven hits over a season-low 3 2-3 innings in a 10-4 loss to Tampa Bay on Friday.

Philadelphia will try to bounce back after wasting the best game of Ryan Howard’s young career in a 9-7 loss Tuesday. Howard homered twice and drove in all seven runs, a career high, before grounding out for the final out against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera with two runners on base.

“That’s what it’s all about. As a closer, you have to face those guys, you have to face the best hitters,” Rivera said. “I want to face the best.”

Howard, who had a two-run tiebreaking triple in the seventh inning, tied injured St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols for the major league lead with 25 homers.

“He’s awesome,” Rodriguez said of Howard. “I love watching him. He’s pretty impressive. He’s going to have a great future.”

Bernie Williams went 5-for-5 and Johnny Damon delivered a go-ahead two-run triple in the eighth inning for New York, which rallied from a 7-5 deficit to snap a three-game losing streak. The Yankees dropped the series opener 4-2 on Monday night.

Williams recorded the fifth five-hit game of his career and first since Aug. 15, 2002.

“The pitching failed us,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Yankees manager Joe Torre made a lineup change, benching struggling left fielder Melky Cabrera in favor of Kevin Reese. Cabrera entered the game as a pinch hitter and went 1-for-2 to snap an 0-for-14 skid.

“It looks like he’s forcing it a little bit; he’s a little long in his swing,” said Torre of Cabrera.

Reese went 1-for-2 with an RBI single.

The Yankees are seeking to capture an interleague series for the first time this year after losing two of three to the New York Mets and Washington.

New York will send Jaret Wright (3-4, 4.86) to the mound Wednesday. He is 0-1 with a 6.19 ERA over his last three outings after giving up five runs over five innings in a 7-5 victory at Washington on Friday.

The veteran right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA against the Phillies in 11 appearances, including five starts.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Wright Pit vs. C. Hamels Tex
11-7 Record 9-8
4.49 ERA 4.08
84 K 145
57 BB 48
1.52 WHIP 1.25