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11/01/09 1:36 AM EST
Abrupt reversal dooms Hamels vs. Yanks
Phillies starter cruises into fourth before allowing five runs
By Tim Britton / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- All around the Phillies clubhouse are written notes reminding the players to turn their watches back an hour for the end of daylight saving time.
Hamels recovered to retire Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano to keep the Phillies in front, but the reprieve was short-lived. The bottom of the Yankees order served as the catalyst for a big New York fifth. Nick Swisher led off with a double down the left-field line. With one out and Swisher on second, Hamels -- and most people in the ballpark -- expected Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte to lay down a bunt. Instead, Pettitte dropped a soft single to left-center that scored Swisher with the tying run. "You don't anticipate too many pitchers swinging at 0-0 pitches in bunting counts, especially offspeed pitches," Hamels said. "I learned the hard way." Derek Jeter followed with his own single to center before Johnny Damon ripped a two-run double into the gap in right-center field. Hamels admitted it was his biggest mistake of the game. After another walk to Teixeira, Hamels' night was done.He left to a low chorus of boos, having retired just three of the final 10 hitters he faced. "He has a good game, and he showed you for three innings that he can pitch," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I look at that, if he can do it for three innings, why can't he keep going?" Hamels has provoked a lot of questions with his performance all season. But at the end of a night that began with him turning back the clock, Hamels looked forward: to a possible start in a potential Game 7 and to righting the ship for good in 2010. At the same time, he couldn't help but realize how different that felt from the end of 2008. "I wish that year had kept going," he said. Now it's up to the Phillies to make sure this one does for Hamels.
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.