The 23-year-old left-hander will try to help the Phillies win their sixth in a row and sweep a three-game series from the Washington Nationals on Thursday at Citizens Bank Park.
Philadelphia (9-11) won 9-3 over Washington on Wednesday for its fifth straight victory after starting 4-11. The Phillies last won six straight while winning nine consecutive games from April 30-May 9, 2006.
With opening day starter Brett Myers struggling and moved to the bullpen, Hamels (2-0, 2.57 ERA) is considered the team’s ace and will look for his third straight victory Thursday.
In his most recent start, Hamels recorded his first career complete game, allowing five hits while striking out a career-high 15 in Philadelphia’s 4-1 win at Cincinnati on Saturday. The Phillies have not lost since and outscored opponents 39-14 in the last five games.
“Cole Hamels was something,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Hamels is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in four career starts against the Nationals.
Wednesday, Chase Utley went 5-for-5 with three RBIs and Jimmy Rollins went 1-for-4 with his eighth home run for Philadelphia. Utley, who has raised his average to .296, is 11-for-20 (.550) with 10 RBIs and nine runs scored during the Phillies’ winning streak.
“He’s warming up. He’s hitting the ball all over the field,” Manuel said of Utley. “He’s going more to the opposite field and he’s pulling the ball when it’s middle-in.”
Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard went 1-for-3 with his third homer, but is hitting just .213 and struck out two more times Wednesday, giving him 23 in 61 at-bats.
Aaron Rowand, who is hitting a team-leading .365, will take a 13-game hitting streak into Thursday’s contest.
The Phillies will try to sweep the Nationals for the first time since 2005.
Washington (6-15), which owns the worst record in the majors and lost six in a row earlier this month, will try to avoid a fifth straight defeat as they wrap up a six-game road trip.
“It’s not frustrating at all,” Washington manager Manny Acta told the Nationals’ official Web site. “I don’t use that word in my vocabulary.”
Ronnie Belliard went 2-for-4 and Dmitri Young, Austin Kearns and Brian Schneider each drove in runs for the Nationals on Wednesday. Washington is hitting .216 and has been outscored 36-15 during its four-game skid.
Shawn Hill (1-2, 2.92) was the starter in Washington’s last win and will take the ball for the Nationals on Thursday.
Hill has allowed two earned runs in each of his four starts, including his most recent one in Washington’s 6-5, 14-inning win at Florida on Friday. He allowed four hits in six innings while striking out six.
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 7.45 ERA in two starts against Philadelphia. He held the Phillies to two hits through seven innings in the Nationals’ 6-0 win over the Phillies on June 11.
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