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April 21 2007

The Phillies shook up their lineup tonight, but Cole Hamels stole the show as the Phils got their third-straight brilliant performance from a starting pitcher.  Over the last three games, Phils starters have gone 22 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (1.19 ERA) on ten hits and seven walks. 

The offense didn't exactly pound out the runs, but Rowand continues to be hot and Chase Utley came through in a big way.

The Phillies topped the Reds tonight, winning 4-1 to improve to 5-11 on the season.  They have won two of their last three.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and dominated.  He threw a complete game and struck out 15.  He gave up five hits and two walks.  Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run.  He got a triple-play in the fifth and struck out Adam Dunn in the eighth with two down and the trying run at the plate.

He struck out the side in the first. 

Former Phil Jeff Conine led off the second with a home run that cut the Phillies' lead to 2-1.  Hamels set down the next three, getting two more strikeouts.

David Ross led off the third with a four-pitch walk and Eric Milton bunted him to second.  Ryan Freel popped to first and Adam Dunn struck out to end the inning.

Hamels got two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 fourth. 

Josh Hamilton walked to start the fifth and Edwin Encarnacion followed with a single that moved him to second.  Ross was next and he hit a ground ball about a foot or two to the left of the bag at third.  Nunez fielded and quickly stepped on third, fired to second for the second out and Utley's relay to first beat Ross.  The Phillies had recorded their first triple-play since May, 1999.

Adam Dunn doubled off the glove of a diving Rowand in left-center with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.  Hamels struck out Brandon Phillips to end the inning.

Hamels got two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 seventh.  He had thrown 88 pitches through seven innings, striking out 11.

Encarnacion led off the eighth with a broken-bat singled into left just over the glove of Nunez.  Hamels struck out Ross and pinch-hitter Juan Castro before Freel singled into right.  Victorino made a tremendous throw to third that beat Encarnacion, but the runner was called safe.  Nunez argued, but he it looked like the tag didn't get him in time.  It brought up Dunn as the tying run with two down and runners on first and third.  You have to wonder if the Phillies had a reliable lefty in the pen they would have brought him in for what looked at the time to be the at-bat of the game.  They don't.  Matt Smith is their only lefty and he's really struggled.  Hamels stayed in and struck out Dunn to end the inning.

Hamels started the ninth inning having thrown 107 pitches and set the Reds down 1-2-3.  115 pitches on the night.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Eric Milton went (1) Victorino (2) Rowand (3) Rollins (4) Utley (5) Burrell (6) Helms (7) Nunez (8) Barajas.  Lots changed here.  Victorino in the leadoff spot as Rollins moves down to three.  Rowand moves up to two in the order, putting two of the Phils who have been hitting, Rowand and Rollins, at the top of the order.  Nunez continues to play with Howard still out.  Werth can't get into the lineup even against a lefty.  Burrell hits fifth instead of Utley.  Burrell is a far better hitter against lefties, his career OPS against lefties is .949 compared to Utley's .815.  Against lefties last season Burrell posted a 1.012 compared to Utley's .857.  The Phils could also avoid back-to-back righties five and six if Burrell hit fourth and Utley fifth.  On the other hand, Burrell went 0-for-4 and Utley was 2-for-3 with three RBI in tonight's game. 

Victorino led off the first with a single and Rowand followed with a pop out to first.  Rollins was next and hit a double-play ball to third, but Encarnacion's throw pulled Phillips off of second and both runners were safe.  With Utley at the plate Rollins stole second and Victorino stole third.  Utley doubled, scoring both of them to put the Phils up 2-0.   Burrell and Helms both flew to right to end the inning.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the second.

Victorino led off the third with a single but Rowand followed and hit into a double-play.  Rollins was next and grounded out to end the inning.

Helms singled with two outs in the fourth and Nunez followed with a single that sent him to second.  Barajas struck out to end the inning with the Phils up 2-1.

After a 1-2-3 fifth, Rollins grounded to third to start the sixth.  Utley followed and hit his third homer of the year to put the Phils up 3-1.  Burrell was next and hit a ball behind short that Gonzalez made a sliding over the shoulder catch on for the second out of the inning.  Helms grounded to short to end the inning.

Barajas singled with one out in the seventh and the Phillies put on the hit-and-run with Hamels at the plate.  Hamels didn't hit the ball and the throw to second was way on the first base side.  Gonzalez caught it way off the bag and Barajas was called out even though replays made it look like the tag was never made.  Hamels struck out to end the inning.

With one out in the eighth, Rowand homered to left to put the Phils up 4-1.  It was his second homer in the last three games.  Rollins struck out and Utley grounded to short to end the inning.

In the ninth, Burrell flew to center for the first out.  Helms was next and he hit a ground ball to third that went off the glove of Encarnacion and to Alex Gonzalez at short.  Gonzalez made a strong throw to nip the slow slow slow Helms.  Nunez grounded to second to end the inning.

Victorino was 2-for-4 with two singles and his fifth stolen base of the year. 

Rowand was 1-for-4 with a home run.

Rollins was 0-for-4 with a strikeout.  He's 3-for-his-last-19.

Utley was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBI.  He came into the game 1-for-his-last-15.

Burrell was 0-for-4. 

Helms was 1-for-4 with a walk. 

Nunez was 1-for-4 with a single.

Barajas was 1-for-3 with a single.

The Phillies didn't draw a walk.  They came into the game leading all of baseball with 86.

The Phils will try to win their first series of the year tomorrow afternoon as Freddy Garcia (0-1, 5.79) faces righty Matt Belisle (2-0, 3.63).  The Phils will also be looking to win two games in a row for the first time this season.

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