The Phillies lost their fourth straight series Thursday 2-1, despite a stellar outing from Cole Hamels. The Phillies held a 1-0 lead entering the ninth, but Jonathan Papelbon blew the save, allowing two runs in the inning en route to his sixth blown save of the season.
Hamels brilliant start wasted
Cole Hamels tossed eight shutout innings, but received a no decision in the game. (AP)
Cole Hamels churned out his best start of the season on Thursday night. The lefty held his opponent scoreless for the first time this year, tossing eight strong innings in which he scattered seven hits and struck out five. It was the third time in his last five starts that he has gone eight innings, after accomplishing that feat just twice in his first 18 starts.
Hamels also delivered the only run for the Phillies in the game in the fifth when his two out single off Matt Cain drove home Laynce Nix to put the Phillies ahead.
But Hamels started was wasted on just three batters into the ninth inning. Papelbon allowed singles to Hunter Pence, Brett Pill and Roger Kieschnick, promptly blowing his sixth save of the year. Those six blown saves are the second most in all of baseball. He then allowed another run, which put the Phillies behind by one.
Offense slow yet again
The Phillies managed just the lone run on seven hits, and squandered several chances to score. They were just 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position in the game, and one of those hits did not even translate to a run.
Perhaps the most frustrating blown scoring opportunity came in the ninth, when the Phillies had the bases loaded with nobody out. It would not have even taken a hit to tie the game or even to win it. But Nix and Carlos Ruiz flied out and could not get the run home, and Erik Kratz grounded into a fielders choice to end the game.
The Phillies will play host to the Atlanta Braves tomorrow looking to win their first series since before the All-Star break. Right-hander Ethan Martin (11-5, 4.12 ERA in AAA) will make his major league debut, and he will be opposed by Kris Medlen, who is 7-10 with a 3.74 ERA. First pitch is at 7:05.