08/18/08 1:05 AM ET
Hamels halts drought, handcuffs Padres
Pitching in hometown, Phillies ace earns first win since July 3
By Elizabeth M. Botello / Special to MLB.com
"A win is a win," manager Charlie Manuel said. "It feels good. We battled them, it was a standoff."
Hamels was on the mound throwing 94-mph fastballs against a Padres team that could hardly touch him. And with the Phillies unable to string along as many runs as they'd like to, this was good timing. After seven winless starts, Hamels was able to notch his first victory since July 3 and lower his ERA to 3.22.
"I think when you really try to be extra fine, you get yourself in trouble," Hamels said. "And I think that's when you put a little too much pressure on yourself. That's something I've learned over the last month of just being able to go out there: You can't control everything. The only thing you can control is the ball and throwing it.
"I was able to just put balls just out of their swing paths and they were able to hit them into our players. It was great, because everybody got to participate."
Hamels, who is from San Diego, was able to beat the team he grew up rooting for. And in front of a crowd of 34,756, many friends, family and Phillies fans were there to witness his first win at PETCO Park this season.
"Anytime you can come home, you always want to do as best as possible," Hamels said. "I think today I was able to go ahead and capitalize."
Added Manuel: "He threw strikes, had good command of his fastball. He did a tremendous job. He's due to win one because he's pitching real good ball. He's had some tough luck in getting a decision and of getting a win. He's pitched much better than his record."
Hamels (10-8) threw five scoreless innings before he was touched with one run in the sixth. He allowed three straight singles, the first to Kevin Kouzmanoff, who would later score on Chase Headley's broken-bat single.
The lefty yielded one run on seven hits over eight strong innings. This was also the only run the Phillies would allow. And it failed to awe in comparison to Pat Burrell's 29th homer and second in this series. Burrell went 2-for-3 with a walk to elevate his batting average to .266.
The Phils scored their two runs before the Padres' lone run. They got on the board in the first inning with their leadoff hitter, Jimmy Rollins, who hit a single, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. Rollins then slid home safely on Jayson Werth's sacrifice fly.
Then it was Burrell's turn in the top of the sixth, when he made it a 2-0 game with a solo shot. He smacked a 2-0 fastball into the lower deck of the left-field stands.
Padres starter Cha Seung Baek (4-7), who allowed both two runs -- one earned -- took the loss. Baek struck out five and walked two over six innings.
San Diego's record fell to 48-76, while Philadelphia improved to 66-58.
Although the Phillies go home with a 2-5 record for this road trip, the win is momentum enough to build upon.
"It's something where we get back on the horse and keep riding it," Hamels said. "We have to show each other that we can do it and we can get back to first place. A 5-2 record would have been a lot better."
The offense wasn't as powerful as it could be, but the two runs were enough to undo the Padres.
"Finally got a little bit of run support," Lidge said. "Hopefully ... everything will start clicking. [The] big thing is we need to play our game. We need to produce some runs."
Not that the opportunity wasn't there. The Phillies stranded seven runners. Something to perhaps improve upon, but first, a plane trip back to Philadelphia.
"We are definitely ready to go home," Manuel said. "We've had a rough trip and I think getting home and getting to our ballpark, I think our hitting will pick up. We should put up some more runs."
Elizabeth M. Botello is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.