Ty Wigginton, looking incredibly comfortable, catches a perfectly placed throw from Carlos Ruiz. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
The Phillies won a baseball game. Been a while.
Of course, it didn't always look like it'd end that way. Cole Hamels, pitching after four straight starts of giving up three earned runs or more, began the game by giving up an infield single to the speedy Eric Young Jr. After getting Marco Scutaro to fly out, Young stole second and scored on a single by Tyler Colvin. Hamels escaped the inning with just the one run given up, but it seemed as if his struggles were to continue.
In the bottom of the inning, the Phillies habit of stranding base runners popped up once yet again. Rollins started off the inning with a double off the struggling, former-Phillie Josh Outman, but ended the inning standing 90 feet away from home plate. As the top of the 2nd progressed, it seemed like the Phillies were to fall a bit further into the abyss. Hamels gave up a one-out single, then walked the pitcher. However, as has been the case with Hamels' starts, he suddenly shifted gears. Facing Eric Young Jr. and Marco Scutaro, he threw seven strikes in a row, and struck them both out, stranding both runners.
The Phillies scuffled in the bottom of the 2nd against the suddenly unhittable Out-man, and went down 1-2-3. Hamels, pitching like he had to start the season, struck out Colvin, Cuddyer, and Helton to start the 3rd and stretch his streak to 5 straight K's. Finally, in the bottom of the 3rd, the Phillies took advantage of a 2 out walk of Jimmy Rollins and he scored on a double by Polanco that rolled to the left field wall.
Hamels kept the ball rolling and set down the Rockies 1-2-3. Then, with two outs and one on in the bottom of the 4th, John Mayberry hit a 2-0 pitch into the seats, putting the Phillies on top 3-1. At that point, the team took over and cruised. Hamels set down the Rockies 1-2-3 for the third straight inning, and in the bottom of the 5th, Carlos Ruiz, destroyer of worlds, doubled in Jimmy Rollins for another run.
Hamels gave struggled a bit in the 6th after recording two outs, giving up a walk, single, and another single. But due to a nice throw and a poor baserunning decision by Chris Nelson, he escaped the inning having only given up one run, leaving the game at 4-2.
No batter reached in the bottom of the 6th and top of the 7th, but in the bottom of the 7th, the Phillies put the game away. Hamels singled to lead off, and Rollins followed with a walk, his fourth time on base of the night. After a sacrifice bunt™ to put runners on 2nd and 3rd, Hunter Pence walked to the plate. He grounded out, finishing off an 0-4 day, but Hamels managed to score. And then, Carlos Ruiz stepped up the plate. One pitch later, he took a stroll around the bases. His line drive just went over the fence, and inched up his average to a mere .358, only 11 points behind Joey Votto for the batting title. Of course, he remains third in the all-star balloting, but such is the nature of fan-voting.
Hamels came in to pitch the 8th having thrown 104 pitches, but he went through the 8th inning throwing only nine pitches, stranding Marco Scutaro on third, finishing off his best start in a month. After a scoreless bottom of the 8th, in which John Mayberry, he of the .261/.257/.507 line against LHP, hit a double against lefty Matt Reynolds, Chad Qualls entered to finish the game. Qualls threw 10 pitches, striking out one, and regressed a bit closer to where his 3.36 SIERA says he should be.
Overall, it was a solid performance by the team, a refreshingly complete game by both the offense, lead by Ruiz and Rollins, and by Hamels on the mound. In light of the afternoon's injury and PED news, it was a wholly necessary victory and a solid start to the 10-game home stand.
Fangraph of success below the jump: