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Indians take it to Hamels, Phillies

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- In four interleague games the past two weeks against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cleveland Indians faced each one of the "Three Aces" -- Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.

They ended up beating all three handily.

Mike Aviles and Nick Swisher each hit homers and the Indians scored five earned runs off Hamels in five innings of the Indians' 10-4 win over the Phillies in the finale of a two-game interleague series on Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

Cleveland won three of the four games between the teams and outscored Philadelphia 32-12. Against Halladay, Lee and Hamels, the Indians scored 18 runs (17 earned) in 14 2/3 innings -- a 10.43 ERA.

"You just play the game the way that you are supposed to," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "You don't focus on that. You focus on one game at a time."

Hamels was the latest Phils pitcher who failed to hold up against the deep Cleveland lineup. He knew he wasn't sharp from the outset.

"I would say probably after I threw 20-some pitches in the first inning," Hamels said. "That's a good sign that you're not going to give yourself a good opportunity to pitch deep in the ballgame.

"Going out in the second inning and you're going 3-2 on every single guy, I think that's kind of the key. It's there. I was able to get a few guys on I think on less than four pitches. That's kind of the name of the game where I'm able to go out there and do it for 6-7-8-9 innings."

With Halladay already injured, the Phillies need Hamels to revert to the form that had him among the best pitchers in the National League during the last five years.

"When I look at him, what I see is he's definitely wanting it, he's trying hard," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Everything like that. That's a problem. He might be trying to make too good of pitches."

In the third, the floodgates began to crack.

Mark Reynolds got the Indians on the board with a two-out, two-run double down the left-field line that scored Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera.

"We did a good job today of not chasing his pitches where he likes to live on the corners," Kipnis said. "We made him come to us."

Philadelphia got a run back in the bottom of the third with an RBI single by Jimmy Rollins that scored John Mayberry Jr. But Aviles answered in the top of the fourth with a solo homer that extended the Indians' lead to 3-1.

Then with a man on and one out in the fifth, Swisher blistered a Hamels cutter just inside the foul pole down the left-field line for his sixth homer of the season to give Cleveland a 5-1 edge.

The loss dropped Hamels to 1-6 on the season and the short outing upped his ERA to 4.61.

Philadelphia tried to get back in the game, clawing within 5-3 on a two-run double by Rollins just inside the right-field line in the fifth. But the Indians broke the game open with two runs in the sixth on a Cabrera two-run single off Jeremy Horst.

Kipnis added the exclamation point in the eighth with a three-run homer off reliever Raul Valdes.

Corey Kluber picked up the win for the Indians, going six innings and allowing six hits and three runs.

""Obviously, I threw more strikes," Kluber said. "I was more aggressive in the strike zone and I didn't fall behind too many guys. I didn't carry the last game into this one at all.

"It makes your job a lot easier when you get ahead of hitters. Give our offense credit, it definitely makes things easier when you score some runs and get a lead. You also know if you give up a couple of runs, they'll come right back and score more."

And after a stretch of playing 14 games in 13 days, the Indians will take a breath and relax with a day off on Thursday.

"They need a day away from the ballpark," Francona said. "It has been a pretty good grind."

NOTES: Swisher extended his hitting streak to seven games with his two-run homer in the fifth. ... Kipnis has 12 extra-base hits in his last 13 games. He had only four extra-base hits in his first 18 games of the season. ... RHP Carlos Zambrano was signed to a minor-league contract by the Phillies on Wednesday. Zambrano was a free agent after pitching in 2012 for the Miami Marlins. Zambrano will head to extended spring training in Clearwater, Fla.
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