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Burning Cole: Phillies 8, Marlins 7

A lot of plot threads hung loosely around today's game: A Cole Hamels trade. A Red Sox scout scout. A possible sweep. A fiery orb in the sky, attempting to incinerate all human life.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

With the trade deadline coming up, Cole Hamels may have been pitching his last home game with the team who'd drafted him, and Citizens Bank Park was abuzz with rumors that a high-ranking Red Sox scout was in the audience. Surely, his high-functioning analytic mind could find some garbage in Boston's system to exchange for the Phillies' best player, should Hamels not look too broken.

But there was still a game to play, and Cole Hamels immediately destroyed his trade value by surrendering two runs to a depleted Marlins lineup in the second inning. As Miguel Rojas singled in Adeiny Hechavarria and Dan Haren sacrificed in Cole Gillespie, the Red Sox scout tapped his scepter against the seat in front of him two times, summoning his space-chariot so that he may return to the spectral plane he calls home and cleanse himself of such an offensive performance.

Back at the stadium, Ryan Howard bashed the lead in half with his 350th career home run, a ball that landed in the upper deck as Tom McCarthy wondered if it had the distance. The Phillies followed him with a brazen hit parade, as Odubel Herrera knocked his 20th double and scored on the subsequent Freddy Galvis dinger. Carlos Ruiz walked, Cole Hamels singled, and Ben Revere's double made it 4-2. Hamels scored on a Cesar Hernandez ground out to make it 5-2 as the sun absorbed the last of Dan Haren's life force.

With some actual run support, Hamels went back to the mound. And when he left it many pitches later, the Marlins had tied the game at five. Eagle-eyed analyst Jon Morosi knew this was bad news for Hamels' trade value, because the Red Sox scout was still watching from his all-seeing interdimensional portal.

No one was really interested.

Fortunately, Hamels quelled all the obnoxious trade talk by lasting only three innings and having a 6.10 ERA in his last seven starts. Uh.

Anyway, it wasn't until the seventh inning that these deadlocked titans were broken up on a Cesar Hernandez double after Jeff Francoeur led off the inning with a single. Ken Giles came in to protect the slim lead with his rediscovered velocity, but instead he allowed a career high four hits in one inning and the Marlins retook the lead, 7-6.

And so, it came down to a one-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies relying on the least reliable facet of their very poor team. But Carlos Ruiz walked and in stepped Jeff Francoeur, the... best player on the, um. Team. Christ.

It wasn't long before Frenchy replaced Hamels as the team's top trade chip, blasting a walkoff home run to give the Phillies' their first sweep in god knows how long. Speaking of Hamels, hopefully the Phillies can convince a team like the Pirates to take him in any deal for Francoeur. Elsewhere, the Red Sox scout returned to his non-corporeal form as an enchanting cloud of stardust.