Hamels brilliant, but 'pen costs Phils
Gordon, Madson give up late homers in 11-inning setback
PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Madson looked up momentarily and hoped, but knew Scott Thorman's ball had little chance of landing in Shane Victorino's glove.When it found the first few rows of the right-field seats, Madson shook his disappointed head, then lowered it. For the second straight night, the Phillies right-hander surrendered an extra-inning homer that held up for the winning run. On Wednesday, Atlanta's Thorman touched him up in a 3-2, 11-inning loss at Citizens Bank Park. "It was a good pitch," Madson said. "It was down and away. I didn't make one bad pitch today on my end. With two strikes, I want to get that ball buried more." Thorman buried it, and dropped the Phillies to 0-2, the only winless team in the National League East. Madson shares the loss with closer Tom Gordon, who relinquished a 2-0 lead in the ninth that was handed over by Cole Hamels. Jeff Francoeur started the inning with a double and scored on Brian McCann's two-run homer. "The last couple of times I faced them, they hit balls pretty hard," Gordon said. "I'm going to find a way to get those two guys out. Sometimes, you go through that." The Phillies picked the wrong time to go through a tough stretch. In their second extra-inning game to start the season, they squandered a brilliant performance by a starting pitcher and lost on a home run. Wednesday's victim was Hamels, who shook off a shaky spring and breezed through the Braves on a cold evening. Rarely challenged, the second-year lefty surrendered four hits over seven shutout innings, walking one and striking out eight.
Hamels threw 15 of 26 first-pitch strikes and had a three-ball count on two hitters. Six times, he got ahead 0-2. He showed his mettle in his seventh and final inning. After nearly slipping while fielding a Craig Wilson grounder to the third-base side of the mound, he faced a second and third situation with two outs.With first base open and the opposing pitcher, Tim Hudson, on deck, manager Charlie Manuel raced out to discuss the strategy regarding Matt Diaz. Hamels convinced Manuel to let him attack Diaz, and needed one pitch to induce a groundout to third. "I was about to get out of that jam," he said. "This was a tough [one]." Tougher than most? "Right now, with the way we feel about ourselves, any loss is a tough loss," Gordon said. "We've only played two games at the beginning of the season, but they were games we felt we should've won. These are tough games to bite on. We have to get prepared for [Thursday's] game." Catcher Carlos Ruiz, making his first start of the season, provided the first run with a two-out homer in the fifth off Hudson. Atlanta's right-hander was nearly as brilliant as Hamels, allowing two hits and one run over seven innings. Philadelphia scored a second run in the eighth off reliever Mike Gonzalez, but missed a key opportunity to add more. Victorino sliced a double to score Jimmy Rollins, who walked, stole second and went to third on McCann's throwing error. Noticing that Gonzalez was paying little attention to him, Victorino took off for third and was gunned down by McCann. With Ryan Howard at the plate and Victorino already in scoring position, Manuel wished Victorino would've stayed at second. He would've scored on a two-out double by Chase Utley and given the Phillies a third run. "Terrible," Manuel said. "Bad play. I told him after the game, the only way he should possibly steal third base is if he's standing up, but at the same time, he shouldn't go." "I'm not very happy about it," Victorino said. "I look like the bad guy here. That's what it seems like. I wanted to be aggressive. If I steal the bag, I look like the hero, or it looks better. I came up short. Charlie didn't want me to go. Obviously, I know that now."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.