Hamels wins 100th game as offense comes alive
Lefty strikes out 10 over seven innings; Brown homers, drives in five
PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels spoke frankly at first about his 100th career win on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Did he reflect upon the milestone?
Did he savor the moment?
"I know it's supposed to feel like a big deal," Hamels said following a 12-1 victory over the Reds. "But to me, it's just a win."
Hamels has won much bigger games than the one he won on Saturday, milestone or not. The bigger deal was the Phillies actually scoring some runs to snap a four-game losing streak. They had extended their scoreless streak to 23 consecutive innings in the third inning -- their longest drought since a 30-inning scoreless streak in May 2010 -- when they finally got the big hits manager Ryne Sandberg said they needed in the fourth inning.
The Phillies scored six runs in the fourth and five in the seventh as Domonic Brown finished with a career-high five RBIs and Cody Asche added three.
"Definitely feels good," Brown said about his performance. "Just one game though, fellas. One game."
The same could be said about the Phillies offense. Save the questions about Saturday being a momentum changer or turning point until several more games are played and many more runs are scored.
But the fourth inning was a nice start. Ryan Howard started the inning with a walk against Reds right-hander Homer Bailey, and Marlon Byrd followed with a double to left field to put runners at second and third.
Surely, the Phillies would score here.
Actually, the Phillies had been hitless in their previous 19 at-bats with runners in scoring position, going back to the fourth inning on Tuesday against the Angels. But Asche ripped a double to right field to score Howard and Byrd to hand the Phillies a 2-1 lead.
"It was big," Sandberg said. "That was the hit that sparked everybody and loosened up the bats with everybody up and down the order. It shows the potential of the lineup. Everybody was hitting together against a quality starter."
Sandberg moved Asche up two spots in the lineup from eighth, where he had hit in his previous 27 starts, to sixth, based on a strong May. He is hitting .318 (14-for-44) with five doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs in 13 games this month. He also has a .752 OPS for the season, which is higher than Howard (.750), Brown (.596) and Ben Revere (.581).
Brown dropped to seventh in the lineup, but he followed Asche with a two-run home run to right field to hand the Phillies a 4-1 lead. Brown entered the night hitting .229 with one home run, 20 RBIs and a .580 OPS in 255 plate appearances since Aug. 14 last season.
"I wasn't surprised at all," Brown said about the drop in the lineup. "I know Ryno likes to get the hot hitters up. Cody has been swinging the bat well. It's nothing personal to me. I understand. I've been with Ryno a long time now. Play better. That's all I've got to do. Play better. I'm not worried about where I'm hitting in the lineup as long as I'm in there."
The Phillies scored two more runs in the inning on singles from Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley to make it 6-1.
Six runs in one inning.
The Phillies had scored seven runs in their previous four games.
Asche added another RBI in the seventh and Brown cleared the bases with a double to make it 10-1. After John Mayberry Jr. capped the five-run seventh with an RBI double, Cesar Hernandez hit the first homer of his career in the eighth to make it 12-1.
It made Hamels' 100th win a lock. He is the seventh pitcher, and fourth left-hander, in franchise history to win 100 games with the Phillies, joining Steve Carlton (241), Robin Roberts (234), Grover Cleveland Alexander (190), Chris Short (132), Curt Simmons (115) and Curt Schilling (101).
"It's something special for the fact that you get to do it all with one team," Hamels said. "It means a lot that I've been able to do it with this organization and a lot of these teammates from the very first win."
Hamels allowed three hits, one run, two walks and struck out 10 in seven innings Saturday. He is 9-0 with a 1.49 ERA in 12 career starts against the Reds, including a shutout in Game 3 of the 2010 National League Division Series.
He didn't need all 12 runs Saturday, but he sure hopes there are more runs coming in his future.
"Hopefully we'll be able to start something," Hamels said. "The hitting was tremendous, to see guys battle. Guys were fouling off pitches until they got the pitch they wanted. If we can keep that for tomorrow and into the road trip, that would be great."