Philadelphia (6-2) at Atlanta (4-5)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun Apr 10, 2011
  • TV: TBS, FSS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Cole Hamels(notes) opened this season with one of the worst outings of his career, but appeared ready to move on almost immediately after the game was over.

Judging by his string of solid performances against the Atlanta Braves, the Philadelphia Phillies’ left-hander could bounce back Sunday and record his first win at Turner Field in three seasons.

Hamels (0-1, 20.25 ERA) didn’t make it out of the third inning in Tuesday’s 7-1 loss to the New York Mets - the Phillies’ first defeat this season - after giving up six runs, seven hits and two walks.

“It’s just something that happens,” he said. “You try to minimize it, but at the same time, I take what I can from the game. Been there, done that. But at the same time, it is frustrating. You don’t want to have games like this, especially games to start the season.”

Only once in his career has he recorded fewer outs while giving up more runs, in an 11-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 24, 2006. Hamels, who was a rookie that year, struggled during that game mainly because he had a cut on his left index finger.

Hamels has been much better in his last six starts against the Braves, going 2-1 with a 3.77 ERA, and he’s given up just four runs over 17 innings in the last three.

He hasn’t won at Atlanta (4-5) since Sept. 18, 2008, but strange circumstances have contributed to that drought. He was only allowed to pitch two innings in last season’s finale at Turner Field because the Phillies were preparing for the playoffs, and a rain delay during another start there June 1 forced him from the game early.

Barring another obstacle, Hamels could end that drought in the deciding game of this three-game series, especially if the Phillies (6-2) can repeat their offensive performance from Saturday’s 10-2 victory. Brian Schneider’s(notes) two-run home run in the fourth inning started a streak of nine unanswered runs and fellow catcher Carlos Ruiz(notes) added a pinch-hit grand slam in the seventh.

“We were swinging good today,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “The catchers were swinging good.”

Ruiz also had a run-scoring double and is 4 for 6 in the series after starting the season 3 for 17 (.176). He and his teammates, though, might have a tougher time hitting against Derek Lowe(notes) (1-1, 0.77).

The veteran right-hander gave up three hits and struck out six over 5 2-3 innings during the Braves’ season opener, a 2-0 win in Washington on March 31. He then allowed one run and five hits while striking out seven Tuesday in Milwaukee, but was on the wrong end of a 1-0 duel with Yovani Gallardo(notes).

“Sometimes, you just get outpitched,” Lowe said. “That’s going to happen. There’s really nothing you can do. (Gallardo is) one of the elite pitchers in the league.”

Lowe was 1-3 with a 5.04 ERA in four starts last season against the Phillies. He had been 6-1 with a 2.39 ERA in his 10 previous starts versus Philadelphia.

Hamels is seeking his 10th career win over Atlanta, which would be his most against any opponent.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Hamels Tex vs. D. Lowe Tex
14-9 Record 9-17
2.79 ERA 5.05
194 K 137
44 BB 70
0.99 WHIP 1.51


Sunday, Apr 10