video thumbnail

PHI@COL: Pence pummels a three-run home run to left

DENVER -- The Phillies came out of the All-Star break at a gallup, playing one of their best and most-complete games of the season to win their first road series in over a month -- and their first series of any kind in nearly a month -- with a 5-1 victory over the Rockies in Sunday's series finale at Coors Field.

Phillies starter Cole Hamels was masterful on the mound, holding the Rockies to one run on six hits over eight innings, with seven strikeouts.

"This was big for us, to come back after the break and take the series," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We have a winning streak. I don't know if you call two games a winning streak or not, but we do."

It's the first series the Phillies have won since securing a three-game set at home against the Rockies on June 20. Hamels improved to 11-4, cementing his "ace" stature as the July 31 Trade Deadline looms.

Hamels pitched scoreless ball through the first five innings, then issued a one-out walk to Marco Scutaro and an RBI triple to Carlos Gonzalez in the sixth, but that was his only blemish.

"It's tough," Hamels said. "You get to the heart of the order, and you have to make your pitches. When you give up the triple with one out, those guys are almost destined to score. Pretty much I was conceding the run anyway, just trying to get the groundout and get the guys out, but I got the strikeout and eventually the groundout.

"When you have the lead and it's kind of later in the game, you don't want them to have the momentum back."

After leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice and a throwing error by Hamels in the first, the Phillies southpaw did not allow another runner into scoring position until Gonzalez's sixth-inning triple.

"From the second inning on, he was terrific," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He had a great cutter, his changeup was fantastic. He pitched with his fastball to both sides of the plate, and then every once in a while he dropped a breaking ball just to remind you."

It was the fifth consecutive start in which Hamels went seven innings or longer, dating back to his June 19 start against the Rockies, which was also has last victory before Sunday. It was his 17th consecutive start of going at least six innings, with only his first start of the year coming in at 5 1/3.

He was matched by an effective offense, led by Carlos Ruiz, as he continued a hot road trip and kept himself in the thick of things, lending a hand in each of the first two runs for the Phillies. After Shane Victorino tripled in the first, Ruiz knocked a two-out single to score him and give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.

Ruiz led off the fourth with a double, advanced to third on Ty Wigginton's grounder to first, and eventually came home on Placido Polanco's sacrifice fly to right field to make it 2-0. Ruiz extended his hitting streak to five games, hitting .400 (8-for-20) during the stretch.

"This game was probably one of our best all-around games," Hunter Pence said. "Little things really picked up the momentum. Ty Wiggington's at-bat, getting the guy over after Chooch hit the double, and Polanco bringing him in. [John] Mayberry's diving catch. There was a lot of good ball all around as a team. It felt good."

Pence stole Ruiz's thunder in the fifth with a two-out, three-run homer deep into the left-field seats to give Philadelphia a 5-0 lead and end an 0-for-13 drought.

"I had two strikes, and I was just trying to battle," Pence said. "Since the break, I haven't had a hit. I hit some balls right at people, but they've been getting the best of me. I'm really just trying to see the ball and hit the ball, and I found a way to find the barrel."

The 2-2 fastball was a costly mistake for Rockies rookie Drew Pomeranz, who gave up all five runs to the Phillies with two outs.

"It was big to see [Pence] hang in there and get a big home run," Manuel said of the three-run blast. "It kind of changed the complexion of the game."

With a series victory under their belts, the Phillies head to Los Angeles for a chance at vengeance against the Dodgers.

"If you remember we had some close games with the Dodgers at home and they swept us," Manuel said, referring to a four-game series in June that capped a six-game losing streak. "That kind of put us in a tailspin. It seemed like we couldn't hold them. All those games were close, and late in the game they always got the big hit or made the right play or right pitch and they beat us, and swept us.

"We should definitely play better, and I feel like we got a good chance."

The Rockies are one of only four teams in the league with a worse record than the Phillies, and the victory should help bolster Philadelphia for a critical stretch against the Dodgers and Giants that starts Monday, facing two teams who are battling for the National League West lead.

"We need to beat every team," Pence said. "It doesn't matter who you are. We need to beat you."

MLB.com Comments