Hamels solid early, but Phils falter late
Early three-run lead doesn't hold up against Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- Not even the phenom could prevent the Brew Crew's penchant for a late-inning rally.Better stated, not even Cole Hamels could stop another bullpen malfunction. Either way, Milwaukee did it to Philadelphia again on Thursday afternoon, plating four seventh-inning runs and holding on for a 5-4 win, completing a three-game sweep at Miller Park. "We leave in about an hour," said manager Charlie Manuel, referencing his eagerness to get out of Milwaukee and put this series in the memory banks. "We had a chance to blow them out of the water and didn't do it. We had them on the ropes and let them get away." Philadelphia led in all three games of the series, but it didn't win one. The Phils, who had won 13 of 14 games entering the series, relinquished three-run leads in the last two games. On Wednesday, they roared back against closer Derrick Turnbow and lost on a Geoff Jenkins single. Jenkins repeated his heroics on Thursday, slicing a two-run double down the right-field line off Ryan Madson. Milwaukee's right fielder went 6-for-11 with a homer and five RBIs in the series. Like Phillies starter Gavin Floyd on Wednesday, Hamels cruised early, then struggled. For Hamels, the club's highly touted prospect, it came in the seventh. Leading, 4-1, Hamels issued a one-out single to Brady Clark and Chad Moeller followed with a two-run homer to left. "It became a real good game at that point," Manuel said. After a mound visit from pitching coach Rich Dubee, Hamels walked pinch-hitter Gabe Gross, his fourth free pass of the day and ninth in 11 1/3 innings. That was enough for Manuel. Madson relieved and struck out Rickie Weeks, but surrendered a single to Jeff Cirillo that happened because Chase Utley had left his position to cover second base. Jenkins came up next and gave Milwaukee the lead. "I felt good today," Madson said. "There was a little misfortune at the ground ball to second. The last pitch [to Jenkins] was a cutter down and in. Cutters to lefties isn't a good spot. That's why I got hurt. If it [jams him], it's a fly ball, but it was down and in, so he yanked it." Though clearly upset, Madson didn't want to talk about giving up the lead in both of Hamels' starts, and declined to address the matter. Hamels' arrival to the Majors resulted in Madson going to the bullpen. The Phillies started well with a three-run first-inning off Dana Eveland, highlighted by Pat Burrell's two-run shot, his 11th of the season, and Hamels held Milwaukee scoreless through the first five innings. He allowed his first run as a Major Leaguer on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly by Carlos Lee. In his second big-league start, Hamels surrendered four runs and nine baserunners in 6 1/3 innings. "I truly believe my location is off," said Hamels, who only threw 10 of 27 first-pitch strikes. "I have a few things that I'm trying to correct. I think over the next couple of games, when I get out there, I'll feel more comfortable and be able to find the plate more." Manuel doesn't appear worried. "He made one bad pitch: the home run," Manuel said. "He's going to be fine. He's a good pitcher, but he can pitch better than that, and he will. He can hold his own. He's not one of my concerns. I have a [lot more on my] plate." Manuel remained concerned about his offense, which was unable to add on more runs in the first and missed another opportunity in the third. "We didn't knock in our easy runs," Manuel said. "That's what happens. They stayed with us, and things are going their way. Things went our way in Cincinnati. This [Brewers] team had things going their way."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.