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Phillies' Hamels gets 17th victory

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Cole Hamels added to his season-high win total with a strong outing Sunday.

His manager, Charlie Manuel, thinks the three-time All-Star can be even better.

"I'm still looking for him to get one of these big years, like a 20 to 24-game winning season," Manuel said. "I think he's capable of doing that."

Hamels (17-6) pitched seven strong innings to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-1 win over the Miami Marlins.

It's the fourth time in five years Hamels has won at least 12 games with an ERA under 3.10.

"I like being consistent, but at the same time they are types of numbers where they can be better," Hamels said. "I'd rather be consistent on a better basis than anything. There's always improvement that you can have. When you improve, you want to stick to numbers in that sort of category of the top echelon of guys. Even though you might be at the cusp of it, I'd rather be at the top."

Carlos Ruiz had three hits and drove in a run for the Phillies, who took two of three from the Marlins.

Chase Utley, Nate Schierholtz, and Domonic Brown also drove in a run each for Philadelphia. Brown's sacrifice fly in the eighth off reliever Mike Dunn pushed the lead to 4-1.

Miami starter Nathan Eovaldi (4-13) allowed three runs in six innings while striking out seven. He finished the season strong with an 0-1 record and 2.25 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 17 innings in his final three starts.

"I definitely feel like my stuff (is good enough) for me to be a strikeout pitcher," Eovaldi said. "My last two or three starts I've been striking out more guys than I have before."

Antonio Bastardo struck out two in the eighth in relief of Hamels before turning it over to Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. Papelbon allowed back-to-back singles to Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Lee before striking out Donovan Solano and John Buck to end the game and earn his 38th save in 42 chances.

Philadelphia jumped on Eovaldi in the first inning as Utley hit a sacrifice fly to score Jimmy Rollins, Ruiz hit an RBI double to drive in Juan Pierre, and Schierholtz hit an RBI single to bring home Ruiz for a 3-0 lead.

"That was big," Manuel said. "That was good for Hamels. That was good for everything about the game. It's kind of what the game is about -- if you can grab a lead early and kind of add on somewhere along the line."

The ineffectiveness by Eovaldi prompted manager Ozzie Guillen to get Chad Gaudin up in the bullpen. However, Eovaldi was able to get out of the early jam by striking out Pete Orr to end the inning.

Conversely, Hamels was in top form early, striking out the side in the bottom half of the first. He did not allow a base runner until Bryan Petersen singled with one out in the fourth.

Jose Reyes followed Petersen with a double to left. Petersen was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice, but the Marlins were still threatening when Hamels' pickoff attempt at second went into centerfield and put runners on second and third.

Lee hit a broken-bat single to right that scored Reyes to cut the deficit to 3-1. Stanton also attempted to score on the play, but was gunned down at home on a strong throw by Brown.

"The outs at the plate were aggressive," Guillen said. "I like it, but at the same time we had men on second and third twice and we didn't bring the guy in. You're talking about a three-run difference to tie the game, it could have been a different game."

After a shaky first inning, Eovaldi settled down and retired 12 of the next 13 batters he faced.

NOTES: Solano extended his hitting streak to 10 games for the Marlins with a double in the fifth. ... Hamels went 2-3 against the Marlins this season, the most losses against any team. ... Philadelphia is looking for its franchise-best 10th straight winning season. ... Despite a number of high-profile offseason moves, the Marlins have more losses this season (92) than a year ago. ... The Phillies will finish their season with a three-game series at Washington as Kyle Kendrick (10-12, 4.08 ERA) will face John Lannan (4-0, 4.23 ERA) Monday. The Marlins will send Josh Johnson (8-14, 3.81 ERA) to the hill for his final start to face Mets right-hander Jeurys Familia (0-0, 8.64 ERA).
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