Improving Hamels shuts down Nationals

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels appears to be rounding into form. So, too, do the Philadelphia Phillies.
The veteran left-hander won his second consecutive start, and Michael Young doubled home two runs in a three-run sixth inning Tuesday night as the Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 4-2.
Hamels, attempting to rebound from a 2-11 start to the season, followed up last Thursday's victory in Pittsburgh -- as well as a strong performance by teammate John Lannan in Monday's victory over Washington -- by allowing one run and six hits over eight innings. He struck out four and walked one.
It is the first time he has won back-to-back decisions since his final two starts of last season, and the first time the Phils have won three straight games he's started since they captured his last five in 2012.
"I know I can be accountable for what I have to do, and I know I haven't been able to get the job done earlier on," he said. "I have to take it up a notch. That's what I'm trying to do."
The only run Hamels allowed came on a homer by former teammate Jayson Werth in the second inning. Hamels retired 16 of the next 18 hitters he faced, allowing only Kurt Suzuki, who was twice hit by pitches, to reach during that stretch.
Hamels (4-11) retired Suzuki with two men aboard to end the seventh. In the eighth, Washington loaded the bases with one out and two right-handed hitters, Ryan Zimmerman and Werth, due to bat.
Manager Charlie Manuel visited the mound but elected to leave Hamels in the game. Hamels later said the manager gave him "a mental breather" and "a vote of confidence."
Manuel said he assured Hamels he wasn't going to take him out.
"I said, 'You've got him, right?'" Manuel said. "He grinned and said, 'I've got him.'"
Hamels struck out Zimmerman on three pitches and retired Werth on a fly to center.
"I don't want to complain about the umpiring," Washington manager Davey Johnson said, "but they got some borderline pitches. ... We had the right guys in there. We just didn't get the hit."
Antonio Bastardo allowed an RBI double to pinch hitter Wilson Ramos with two outs in the ninth but retired Scott Hairston to end the game and record his second save.
Ben Revere continued his hot hitting with two more hits for the Phillies (45-46), who have won five of six to creep within a game of the .500 mark and 1 1/2 games of the second-place Nationals (46-44) in the National League East.
Revere now has 23 multi-hit games in his last 57.
With the score tied 1-1, Revere led off the sixth with a single off rookie Taylor Jordan (0-2). Jimmy Rollins also singled, and Chase Utley then bounced a ball to first baseman Adam LaRoche. LaRoche threw wildly to second, allowing Revere to score the go-ahead run.
One out later, Young doubled to deep center, bringing home Rollins and Utley.
Jordan, making his third major league start, pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) and eight hits. He struck out two and walked one.
"Jordan deserved better," Johnson said. "He pitched a good ballgame. ... I liked the way he was throwing. He got ahead of guys and made too good a pitch."
Werth hit a solo homer off Hamels with one out in the second, his ninth of the year, but the Phillies tied it on Domonic Brown's RBI single in the fourth.
"I like the last two games we've played," Manuel said. "I like everything about it. I like to sit there and watch it. That's what it's all about."
NOTES: Hamels is now 7-1 in his last eight home starts against the Nationals. His 14 career victories against Washington are the second-most of any active pitcher. Atlanta's Tim Hudson has beaten Montreal/Washington 16 times. ... Before the game, the Phillies optioned RHP Phillippe Aumont to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and selected the contract of RHP Luis Garcia from the IronPigs. ... RHP Mike Adams (shoulder) was moved to the Phillies' 60-day disabled list to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Garcia. ... Werth, 1-for-4 with his homer Tuesday, has hit .313 since coming off the disabled list on June 4. ... Utley's fourth-inning double was the 287th of his career and moved him into a tie with Richie Ashburn for eighth on the Phillies' all-time list.

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