Cole Hamels returned from the DL looking fantastic last night. He held the Reds to a run on two hits over six innings while striking out seven as the Phils won 3-2. One of the two hits, a triple that led to the only run he allowed, came when the outfielder who was about to catch the ball on the warning track in right slipped and fell.

Victorino broke a 1-1 tie with two-run homer in the eighth.

The pen struggled in the bottom of the eighth last night as Stutes, with the help of some bad defense, allowed a run on three hits that got the Reds within one. For Stutes it was the eighth time in his last 16 appearances that he had been charged with at least one run. Over those 16 games he has thrown to a 5.66 ERA. You have to wonder if we’re going to start to see less of Stutes late in games, especially given how well Herndon has been pitching. Over his last 13 appearances, Herndon has allowed one run on 12 hits and a walk over 16 2/3 innings (0.54 ERA and an 0.78 ratio) while striking out 15.

Stutes’s outing could have been worse, too. With one lefty in the pen for the Phils, Bastardo pitched a scoreless seventh. That left the Phils without left-handed relief options and the eighth inning ended with Stutes getting a monster left-handed hitter, Joey Votto, to ground to second with runners on first and third and the Phils up by a run. The Phillies are going to need to put another lefty in their pen or start using the one they have, Bastardo, differently.

The Phillies are 84-46 on the year after beating the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 last night.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. One of the hits was a triple that would have been caught if the outfielder about to catch it hadn’t slipped and fell. He struck out seven.

He struck Brandon Phillips out looking for the first out in the bottom of the first. Dave Sappelt was next and he struck out swinging for the second. Joey Votto flew to left to end the inning.

Jay Bruce lined to Utley to start the bottom of the second. Yonder Alonso grounded to first for the second out. Drew Stubbs got ahead 3-0, but Hamels came back and struck him out looking 3-2.

Hamels struck Edgar Renteria out swinging for the first out in the third. Ryan Hanigan was next and flew to right. Pitcher Homer Bailey grounded to second for the third out.

Phillips led off the fourth and hit a ball well to right center. Pence was in position to catch the ball on the edge of the track, but fell down. The ball dropped and Phillips had a triple. Hamels struck Sappelt out swinging for the first out, but Votto followed that with a ground out to second that scored Phillips and put the Reds up 1-0. Bruce grounded to third to set Cincy down.

With the score tied at 1-1, Hamels set the Reds down in order in the fifth.

Hanigan singled to right to start the sixth and Bailey bunted him to second with the first out. Phillips was next and flew to center, deep enough for Hanigan to tag and move up to third with two down. Hamels struck Sappelt out swinging to leave Hanigan at third.

Bastardo started the seventh and walked the lefty Votto on five pitches, but struck out Bruce, Alonso and Stubbs all in a row behind him.

Bastardo has allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings over his last eight appearances, giving up one hit and striking out 12. He has allowed 19 hits in 50 2/3 innings for the year.

Stutes started the eighth with a 3-1 lead. Renteria went down on a foul ball Howard took with a basket catch near the Cincinnati dugout for the first out before Hanigan singled to center. Lefty Fred Lewis hit for the pitcher Bailey and Stutes struck him out looking. Phillips was next and he singled to left on a ball deflected by Polanco, moving Hanigan up to third. Sappelt was next and chopped a ball to third that Polanco fielded. He threw to first in the dirt and Howard couldn’t scope it. Hanigan scored (3-2) and Phillips moved up to third as the ball got away from Howard. Sappelt was given a single on the play and Polanco was charged with an error, leaving runners on the corners with two down. Stutes got Votto on a ground ball to second to end the inning.

One lefty in the pen for the Phils and Bastardo had already pitched. They got lucky. Stutes pitching to Joey Votto in the bottom of the eighth with men on first and third and a one-run lead isn’t what you’re looking for. Stutes also stayed in the game to face the lefty Lewis as the tying run, but it’s not really the same thing. It’s not like the pen was exactly worn down with use, either, as the Phils hadn’t played in either of the two previous days.

Madson started the ninth. Bruce led off and chopped a ball past a diving Howard and into right for a single. Madson struck Alonso out swinging 0-2 for the first out. Stubbs was next and hit a one-hopper to first that would have been a double-play, except that Stubbs was running too and beat Utley’s relay to first. Stubbs stole second as the count went 2-0 on Renteria, but Madson got Renteria to ground to first to end the game.

Stutes threw 27 pitches in the game. Bastardo 18 and Madson 17. Everyone is well-rested after two days with no games over the weekend.

The Phillies lineup against righty Homer Bailey went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Ibanez continues to sit with a sore groin despite a pinch-hitting appearance on Friday. Mayberry starts in left against the righty. Valdez at short with Rollins on the DL.

Polanco and Utley struck out as the Phils went in order in the top of the first.

Howard, Pence and Mayberry went in order in the second.

Bailey set the Phillies down in order in the third, too.

Utley reached on an infield single with two outs in the fourth. Howard flew to center to leave him stranded.

The Phils trailed 1-0 when they hit in the fifth. Mayberry was next and hit a ground ball to first with Pence forced at second for the first out. Ruiz moved Mayberry to third with a single. Valdez was next and lined a ball to left that Sappelt played oddly, then dived at and missed. Valdez had a double, Mayberry scored to tied the game at 1-1 and Ruiz moved up to third. Hamels struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Victorino struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch to leave both runners stranded.

Phils can’t get any more after putting men on second and third with one out.

The Phils went in order in the sixth and again in the seventh.

Valdez started the seventh with a single to left. With the righty Bailey still on the mound for the Reds, Martinez hit for the pitcher Bastardo. He tried to bunt Valdez to second, but popped the bunt up to Votto in foul territory for the first out. Victorino was next and he hit the first pitch of his at-bat, a hanging curve ball, out to right for a two-run homer that put the Phils up 3-1. Polanco struck out behind him and Utley popped to short.

With the lead cut to 3-2, the Phils went in order in the ninth.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer. He’s 2-for-his-last-14.

Polanco 0-for-4, struck out three times and made an error at third. He has one extra-base hit, a double, in his last 104 at-bats.

Utley 1-for-4 and struck out twice.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 3-for-his-last-24 with ten strikeouts.

Top four in the lineup for the Phils went 2-for-16 with eight strikeouts in the game.

Pence 1-for-4 with a weird fall-down on the warning track that helped Phillips triple.

Mayberry 0-for-4. 1-for-his-last-12.

Ruiz 1-for-3. 310/373/430 since the All-Star break.

Valdez 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. He doubled in the first run of the game for the Phils and singled ahead of Victorino to score the second. He’s hitting 304/353/543 in 46 at-bats so far in August.

Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.56) faces righty Bronson Arroyo (8-10, 5.02) tonight. Arroyo has had a miserable season, but threw eight shutout innings against the Marlins in his most recent start. Lefties are pounding him this year, hitting 324/376/590 against him for the season. He made one start against the Phillies this year, allowing nine runs in 2 2/3 innings on May 23. Halladay has made one start against the Reds this season, allowing three runs in seven innings on May 25.

Hamels is quoted here as saying: “Because it’s so late in the season, I want to be able to finish the season healthy and go into the postseason healthy.” Hopefully someone in the organization is in touch with the fact that the Phils still have about a fifth of their season left to play and aren’t actually in the post-season at this point. They aren’t really that close yet either. The magic number for the Brewers, who have played better than the Phils since the All-Star break and have a 10 1/2 game lead in the NL Central, is 18. The Marlins, who are 59-74 and 26 1/2 games behind the Phils in the NL East, could still finish ahead of the Phils in the division. That probably won’t even happen, but I’m just sayin.