I'm going to start by doing something rather self-centered. I'm going to quote myself.
Today would be a great day for Hamels to get his shit together.
Those are the words I typed in the game thread. Today was the day that Hamels got his shit together. Maybe it was the extra few days. Maybe it was the holiday. Or maybe he finally got fed up. He pitched seven innings, allowing five hits and two runs (only one earned). He struck out eight batters, and the best news is that he walked no one. That's right. Hamels didn't give up a single free pass all day. Justin "I've been really terrible lately I should probably stop pitching so much" De Fratus tried to blow it for him in the eighth, but he got a big double play and escaped with only two additional runs.
Today was a good day for Phillies hitters. Every starter but Hamels had at least one. Ben Revere (three hits) and Carlos Ruiz (two hits) got the ball rolling in the fifth with one run, After three straight singles in the top of the sixth, the bases were loaded for Kevin "Handsome Lumberjack" Frandsen. (Seriously, his beard is magnificent.) He hit the bloopiest bloop single to shallow right and the game was tied. One batter later, Carlos Ruiz hit a single that scored two runs and the Phillies were on top 4-2. It was the first run the Pirates bullpen had given up in seven games. They batted around in the inning, and even added another run in the eighth for good measure.
Howard played, but he is not running well at all. At this point, they can play him and ride the new "hot" streak he's on, but acknowledge that he won't be able to run well and he may hurt himself further. Or they could sit him and save his knee for the future. And Ryan Howard will be with the Phillies in the future, so maybe they should think about that. I don't know, it's just a suggestion.
But they won, and Hamels won. This was the start we've been waiting for from Hamels. He looked like his old self. I hope he's back to stay.
Please, enjoy your day, gang. Drink beer, eat fried food, and be safe. Fireworks are awesome, and so is driving a car, but you really shouldn't do either of those things if you've been drinking.