PHILADELPHIA (AP)—A couple of early long balls didn’t rattle Cole Hamels.
Hamels (9-2) allowed two runs and six hits in eight innings, Utley was 3-for-3 with a two-run homer and the Phillies moved a season-best three games above .500 (34-31) with their sixth win in eight games.
“I’m starting to control my frustration,” Hamels said. “It’s part of having veterans around to help me learn and control it and it’s me getting experience.”
A former first-round draft pick, Hamels has emerged into the staff ace in just his second season. The left-hander struck out eight—one in each inning— and walked one. He also leads the league in strikeouts (104) and homers allowed (16).
After Konerko and Dye connected with two outs in the first, Hamels settled in nicely without having his best stuff. The Phillies answered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning and never trailed.
“I’ve seen him sharper, but he did a good job,” manager Charlie Manuel said of Hamels.
White Sox starter Jose Contreras (4-7) allowed seven runs—five earned— and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings. It was his shortest outing since lasting one inning against Cleveland on opening day.
“I felt good, but didn’t think I had any pop on my fastball,” Contreras said through an interpreter.
Contreras ran into trouble when he hit Aaron Rowand to load the bases with two outs in the first. Contreras walked Pat Burrell on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run and Greg Dobbs followed with a two-run single to right field to make it 3-2.
Second baseman Tadahito Iguchi’s fielding error on Shane Victorino’s grounder with two outs kept the second inning going. Utley followed with a two-run drive off the facing of the second deck in right field for his 12th homer.
“When you face a pitcher like that, you’ve got to hold the other team,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “The kid is legit. He’s the best pitcher we’ve faced from the National League so far.”
Utley chased Contreras with a two-run single in the fourth that gave the Phillies a 7-2 lead. He was tied with Houston’s Carlos Lee for the NL lead in RBIs at 52.
“A lot of credit for RBIs has to go for guys being on base,” Utley said.
Utley made a spectacular defensive play at second base to rob Dye in the fourth inning. He made a diving, backhanded catch on a hard, one-hopper up the middle and threw from his knees to retire Dye.
Since a terrible 4-11 start, the Phillies are 30-20. They entered just four games behind the New York Mets in the NL East after trailing the division leaders by 8 1/2 games on June 2.
The Phillies sent RHP Clay Condrey outright to Triple-A Ottawa to make room for Kyle Kendrick, who will make his major league debut on Wednesday in Garcia’s spot in the rotation. … Iguchi was 0-for-4 to snap a 13-game hitting streak. … Contreras had pitched at least six innings in nine of his first 12 starts. … Rowand was hit by nearly the same pitch on almost identical spots on his back his first two times at the plate. … The Phillies can get their first home sweep this season with a victory Wednesday. … Dye’s homer snapped a 3-for-34 slump. He also doubled in the sixth inning.