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Sanabia, Marlins extend Hamels' frustration

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels struck out a season-high 10 batters Monday night and looked primed to end his struggles, but what he did wasn't enough to top Alex Sanabia or stop the Miami Marlins from putting together rare back-to-back wins.

Justin Ruggiano's two-out, RBI double in the sixth off Hamels broke a 1-1 tie, and the run-starved Marlins beat the Phillies for the third straight time, 5-1, at Marlins Park.

"It was kind of funny in the dugout when we scored that second run," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond, whose team is averaging a major league worst 2.7 runs a game. "(Hitting coach) Tino (Martinez) goes, 'All right guys, there's your two runs. Now go get 'em Chuck.' (Pitching coach) Chuck (Hernandez) and I had a good laugh."

Miami, which hadn't posted consecutive wins since taking the final two games of a four-game series at Philadelphia on May 4-5, tacked on three runs off the struggling Phillies bullpen in the eighth.

Ruggiano, one of four Marlins who had two hits, singled home former Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco with an eighth-inning single to center. Nick Green blooped a two-run single to center two batters later.

That was just enough offense to help Sanabia end a personal five-game losing skid. He scattered seven hits over 6 1/3 innings and allowed one run while walking one walk and striking out three.

He also got a huge lift from his bullpen.

Ryan Webb, who came into the game tied with Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon for the longest current scoreless innings streak in the majors, delivered two huge outs after replacing Sanabia with runners on the corners and one out in the seventh.

First, the 27-year old right-hander got Laynce Nix, pinch-hitting for Hamels, to fly out to shallow right field. Then, he ended the inning by getting Jimmy Rollins to ground out to second. Webb, who extended his career-best scoreless streak 17 1/3 innings, hasn't given up an earned run since April 17.

"Give Webby a lot of credit for coming in and getting that shallow popup to right and that ground ball to save us from giving up another run," Redmond said. "(Sanabia) and Mathis did a nice job working together changing speeds. (The Phillies) came out some of those innings swinging the bat. You could tell they had a sense of urgency. They were going to try to attack."

Hamels (1-7) wasn't happy about taking his fourth loss in a row. He walked past reporters in the clubhouse without saying a word after giving up seven hits and two runs while throwing 89 pitches in six innings. Hamels was striking out Marlins left and right before Ruggiano doubled high off the right field wall in the sixth, scoring Polanco from first.

"Backdoor cutter that ended up being right over the middle of the plate," Phillies catcher Erik Kratz said. "Good hitter like Ruggiano can hit something coming in hot. He did what he should do with that pitch. We hit a lot of balls hard at guys. It would have been nice if that one would have been right at Delmon (Young) instead of over his head, but it wasn't."

The hit ended an 0-for-18 skid for Ruggiano.

"I hadn't really been keeping track of what I had not been doing, I just know it hadn't been good this last week," said Ruggiano, who finished 2-for-4. "Sometimes things can snowball on you. It was nice to come out and finally get that monkey off my back and get some hits and also RBIs to help us win a game."

The Phillies, who fell to 1-9 in Hamels' starts and 21-24 overall, had a chance to tie the score in the sixth. However, Chris Coghlan made a spectacular diving catch to save a run when he ran hard toward the left field line and sprawled out to haul in a softly hit fly ball by Domonic Brown with runners on first and second.

"It feels like we're having a really rough time getting to .500," manager Charlie Manuel said. "That's kind of a measuring stick for us."

As for Hamels, Manuel said he's worried the mounting losses could be hurting his confidence.

Hamels has allowed five runs in three matchups against the Marlins this season, but he has received only two runs of support. He came in ranked ninth among major league starters in terms of lowest run support with a 3.02 average per game.

"I think Cole expects to be the big pitcher on our team and expects to win. It's hard not to get upset. He pitched good tonight," Manuel said. "At the same time, he needs some runs, he needs to feel like he's pitching with a lead sometimes, room to breathe and room if he makes a mistake. That's a concern of mine, but I don't know what I'm going to do about it."

Three rookies -- Adeiny Hechavarria, Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna -- singled off Hamels in the first inning to stake the Marlins to an early lead. Hechavarria led off with a single to right, then stole second base before Dietrich sent a grounder deep at second, putting runners on the corners. Ozuna drilled a 1-2 pitch from Hamels into center field, giving Miami a 1-0 lead.

Brown erased the Marlins' advantage an inning later when he drilled the first offering from Sanabia for a 388-foot solo shot to right field. The home run was Brown's eighth of the season -- tops on the Phillies.

The Marlins got a leadoff triple to center by Coghlan in the bottom half of the second. However, Hamels worked out of trouble, getting Green and Jeff Mathis to pop out before striking out Sanabia to end the threat.

"It's a challenge for anybody when you don't have that success as far as wins and losses," Kratz said. "Cliff (Lee) went through it last year. Doesn't mean he's pitching bad. Doesn't mean Cole's pitching bad. It just means we're not getting that W. The way I look at it and I know the way Cole looks at it is Cole's going to win a lot of games -- this year, next year. He's going to win a lot of games this year. To me, it gives me a lot of confidence there's a lot of positive ahead."

NOTES: The Phillies placed C Carlos Ruiz on the disabled list Monday, a day after he sustained a grade two right hamstring strain running the bases in a win over the Cincinnati Reds. He's expected to miss three to four weeks. Kratz is expected to get the majority of starts while Ruiz is out. ... Philadelphia 1B Ryan Howard missed his second straight start with an inflammation in his left knee. Michael Young started at first in Howard's place again, and he went 2-for-4. ... The Phillies promoted C Humberto Quintero from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and they placed RHP Michael Adams on the disabled list, retroactive to May 11, due to a back strain. ... The Marlins placed veteran OF Matt Diaz on the disabled list with a bruised left knee and called up OF/1B Jordan Brown. Brown, who last played in the majors with the Indians in 2010, was hitting .261 with 10 runs, six doubles and 12 RBIs for Triple-A New Orleans. ... The game drew an announced crowd of 13,231, the smallest of the season at Marlins Park.
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