The Philadelphia Phillies are well on their way to a third consecutive division crown. They are in that position despite a mediocre year from ace Cole Hamels(notes), who is trying to regain his 2008 postseason form.
Looking for his first victory since the end of July, Hamels gets the ball Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park as the Phillies open a three-game set against the surging San Francisco Giants.
Philadelphia (75-53) added to its sizable NL East lead over the weekend by taking two of three from Atlanta. Hamels (7-8, 4.52 ERA) looks to help his club continue its roll toward the division title as he seeks his first win since July 28.
Last season’s NLCS and World Series MVP was in line for a victory in Wednesday’s 4-1, 10-inning win at Pittsburgh after eight scoreless innings, but Ryan Madson(notes) allowed a tying homer in the ninth.
“(Hamels’) velocity was good and he stayed after it the whole eight innings,” said manager Charlie Manuel, whose club has won 14 of 19. “When they had runners on base, that’s when he really bore down. He’s getting there.”
Hamels went 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA in five August starts.
In a 7-3 defeat at San Francisco on Aug. 2, Hamels allowed seven runs and 10 hits over five innings and lost for the first time in five career starts versus the Giants. While he went 3-1 in those games, he posted a 5.03 ERA.
Hamels will face a San Francisco club that won its last three and is tied with Colorado atop the wild-card standings. Edgar Renteria’s(notes) go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning of a 9-5 win over the Rockies on Sunday helped the Giants (72-59) cap a 5-1 homestand.
San Francisco, opening a six-game trip, is 28-38 on the road. The Giants have dropped 10 of 13 in Philadelphia.
The left-hander struck out nine and surrendered three runs in seven innings of a 4-3 win over Arizona on Wednesday. Sanchez retired 13 of 14 at one point but did not receive a decision.
Sanchez is 1-0 with a 4.60 ERA in six appearances against the Phillies. He beat them July 30 with 5 2-3 innings of two-run ball in a 7-2 victory.
He was 2 for 15 as the Phillies lost three of four in San Francisco from July 30-Aug. 2.