ATLANTA -- Two days after signing a six-year, $144 million contract extension, Philadelphia Phillies starter Cole Hamels walked a career-high six batters in five innings -- his shortest outing of the season.
That played a big part in the Atlanta Braves beating Hamels and the Phillies 6-1 in the first game of a three-game weekend series between the long-time National League East division rivals.
Brian McCann, the next to last batter Hamels (11-5) faced, whacked a three-run home run to center field in the bottom of the fifth to put the Braves up 5-1.
"My first half was brutal," McCann said. "I just put it behind me. To be honest I think that was the best thing that's ever happened to me. It made me get back to the basics and doing what I've always done."
"Somebody's getting him out," manager Charlie Manuel said, explaining why he had Hamels pitch to him. "I love McCann (but) look at that .240 up there."
Martin Prado drove in another run on a single off reliever Jeremy Horst in the sixth.
Ben Sheets (3-0) allowed his first run as a Braves starter with the game only two minutes old, giving up a lead-off single to Jimmy Rollins, then a run-scoring double to Shane Victorino.
But Sheets got even when he came to bat with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second; his ball, bobbled by Mike Fontenot at third, squirted into left, allowing Freddie Freeman to score. Then with the bases still loaded, Michael Bourn singled to left to drive in Dan Uggla, putting the Braves up 2-1 after two innings.
"Man, I'm just riding it, riding the wave," Sheets said. "I mean, I'm on a very good team and the guys are doing the heavy pulling. I'm just trying to put in a little two cents myself, trying to help us out."
The Phillies made some two-out noise in the seventh against Jonny Venters when Rollins walked, Victorino singled and the two staged a double steal. Chase Utley walked to load the bases for Ryan Howard, but Venters struck him out, swinging.
Hamels had walked five three times in his career, but he hadn't done that since 2007. He had trouble getting a grip on any of his pitches in the humidity.
"It was one of the few games I've had to change my jersey twice," he said. "I'm hoping I don't have to do that ever again."
NOTES: The Braves signed RHP Miguel Batista, 41, to a minor league contract. "The guy's got some experience," manager Fredi Gonzalez said, noting that Batista can both start and relieve and should be a good influence on RHP Randall Delgado and RHP Julio Teheran. ... LHP Jonny Venters is excited about how good he has felt after having been on the disabled list with soreness in his left elbow. His Triple-A rehab assignment was cut short, to only one appearance, after the Braves went through their bullpen last weekend against the Nationals. ... RHP Kris Medlen was slated to be available for one inning out of the bullpen Friday; the Braves may decide to start him next Tuesday versus the Marlins. Gonzalez said that decision has not been made yet. ... The Phillies may be in fifth place in the NL East as this three-game weekend series begins, but Manuel said, "I feel like we've got a run in us." ... The Phillies purchased the contract of INF Kevin Frandsen from Triple-A Lehigh Valley Friday to fill the roster spot of 3B Placido Polanco, who is on the disabled list with lower back inflammation. ... Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. said before the game that C Brian Schneider, on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle, would DH on Saturday, then go nine innings on Sunday at Clearwater. ... Saturday's scheduled starters are RHP Joe Blanton vs. LHP Mike Minor.