Cole Hamels came up with a solid outing against the Pirates last night, but for the second day in a row the Phillies couldn’t muster enough offense to back up their starter. The Phils scored two runs in the game — one came with the help of an error and the other on a solo home run by Wilson Valdez.
The core of regular hitters who have escaped injury continues to struggle. With Polanco, Ruiz and Utley all on the DL, Victorino, Rollins, Werth, Ibanez and Howard have driven in one run in the past three games. Last night they were 3-for-20.
And then there’s the injuries. The Phils lost another player in the game. Brian Schneider, who was filling in nicely for Ruiz and is 5-for-his-last-16 with a pair of home runs, injured his left thumb in the second inning of the game and was pinch-hit for in the fourth. Worse than that was the news that Utley could be lost for as long as eight weeks.
The Phillies are 41-36 on the year after losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 last night. With the loss they fall four games behind the first place Braves in the NL East. They trail the second place Mets by two games.
Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out eight and has allowed more than three earned runs in a game just once in his last 11 starts. The Phils are 1-6 in the last seven games he’s started. They’ve scored three or fewer runs in five of those seven games.
He threw a 1-2-3 first.
Lastings Milledge singled with one out in the second and Ryan Doumit walked behind him. Bobby Crosby was next and he singled to left, scoring Milledge from second to put the Pirates up 1-0. Doumit went to third on the single, but Hamels struck out Andy LaRoche for the second out and pitcher Daniel McCutchen for the third to end the inning.
It was 1-1 when Hamels started the third. Jose Tabata led off with a walk and came around to score when Pedro Alvarez followed with a double. 2-1. Andrew McCutchen was next and he a ground ball to second that Valdez didn’t handle for an error. It put men on first and third with nobody out. Garrett Jones hit a ball fielded by Hamels for the first out. Alvarez held third with McCutchen taking second. Milledge was next and he hit a ball that Hamels handled as well. Hamels threw home and Alvarez was tagged out by Schneider for the second out. With two down and men on first and third, Hamels got Doumit on a fly ball to right to end the inning.
Twice in two innings Hamels does well to limit the damage. Big strikeout of LaRoche in the second with one out and a man on third. In the third the Pirates can’t get any more after putting men on first and third with nobody out.
LaRoche singled with one out in the fourth and the pitcher McCutchen bunted him to second. Tabata followed that with a single into center, scoring LaRoche to make it 3-1. Hamels picked Tabata off of first, with Howard making a nice play to come forward to catch the ball and then deliver a strong throw to second, for the third out.
Hamels struck out Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen and Jones in a 1-2-3 fifth after the Phils cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the inning.
He threw a 1-2-3 sixth.
LaRoche reached on an error by Dobbs to start the seventh. Ronny Cedeno ran for him at first and pitcher Evan Meek bunted him to second. Tabata flew to center and Alvarez popped to Dobbs at third to leave the runner stranded.
Contreras threw a 1-2-3 eighth with the Phils still down a run.
Contreras threw 11 pitches in the game. He has a 2.19 ERA and a 1.04 ratio for the season. He’s on pace to throw about 62 1/3 innings this year.
The Phillies lineup against righty Daniel McCutchen went (1) Victorino (2) Dobbs (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Schneider (8) Valdez. Dobbs at third and Valdez at second. Rollins hits third with Utley on the DL. Victorino leads off.
Charlie Manuel was suspended for the game. Bench coach Pete Mackanin managed the Phils.
Dobbs singled with one out in the first, but Rollins and Howard went down behind him.
Werth, Ibanez and Schneider all struck out in the second.
Valdez led off the third and hit a 2-1 pitch out to left center, tying the game at 1-1. Hamels followed that with a single into left, but Victorino, Dobbs and Rollins all grounded out behind him.
Valdez came into the year with one career home run in 369 plate appearances. He’s hit four in his last 32 plate appearances.
Howard singled to start the fifth with the Phillies losing 2-1. Werth struck out behind him for the first out and Ibanez flew to left for the second. Sardinha hit for Schneider and popped to third.
The Phils were down 3-1 when they hit in the fifth. Victorino singled with two outs and stole second. Dobbs hit a ball that LaRoche fielded moving to his right almost behind second. LaRoche threw in the dirt to first, but Jones couldn’t pick it. Victorino scored from second to make it 3-2 with Dobbs safe on an error charged to LaRoche. Rollins flew to center for the third out.
Werth reached on an error by Alvarez with one out in the sixth. Ibanez grounded to short with Werth forced at second for the second out. Ibanez stole second and Sardinha flew to center to leave him there.
The Phils went in order in the seventh.
Rollins doubled with one out in the eighth. Howard struck out behind him swinging at ball four for the second out before Werth walked. It put men on first and second for Ibanez, but Ibanez flew to left to leave both men stranded.
Sardinha singled to left off of Octavio Dotel to start the ninth. Valdez bunted him to second with the first out and Gload hit for Contreras with the righty Dotel on the mound. Gload grounded to second for the second out with Sardinha taking third. Victorino struck out looking for the third out.
Can Sardinha score from second on a single? Since it’s tough to run for him since you’re out of catchers I think you might be better off letting Valdez hit away. Especially since he’s just about the only guy on the team driving in any runs.
Dobbs 2-for-4. He’s 3-for-7 with a walk in his last two games, putting his line for the year at 171/241/250.
Rollins 1-for-4 with a double.
Werth 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
Ibanez 0-for-4 and left four men on base.
Schneider 0-for-1. Sardinha 1-for-3.
Valdez 1-for-3 with a homer.
Jamie Moyer (9-6, 4.30) faces righty Ross Ohlendorf (0-6, 4.90) tonight. Moyer has allowed more than two runs in a start just one in his last six outings. Ohlendorf has made 11 starts for the Pirates. He’s 0-3 with a 5.87 ERA and a 1.39 ratio in his last four outings.
Some injury updates on the Phils here. It suggests that Madson could be back before the break and Durbin may be after. Happ has already made five rehab appearances and will start at Triple-A on Sunday. Things haven’t been going especially well.