By the time Cole Hamels took the mound last night, the Phillies had already staked the lefty to a 4-0 lead. Hmmm, 4-0 lead over the last place Astros in a critical game. Now that’s a familiar story.
But this story had a happier ending, at least for the Phillies. After last night’s late inning loss, when the Phils scored four runs early and then put their bats away, they weren’t about to let this one get away. The Phillies scored early and often. They had 16 hits and scored runs in five different innings in their 12-6 win over the Houston Astros.
Yes, John Mayberry had 3 hits and 3 RBI’s, Ryan Howard had 2 hits and 3 RBI’s, Chase Utley had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s but the guy who got things “Roll”-ing was the first man to the plate. Jimmy Rollins has taken his share of criticism this season but when his team needs a spark, a catalyst, a game-changer, the little guy always seems to get the big hit.
Jimmy Rollins’ leadoff home run last night slammed the door on a tough loss the night before and set the tone for the game, a must-win for the Phillies.
And they had the right guy on the mound, too. Cole Hamels has been the Phillies most consistent pitcher this year especially when they need a pick-me-up. He is 9-3 following a Phillies’ loss this season and though he wasn’t at his sharpest, he kept the Astros in check on the way to his 15th win, matching his career-high in victories.
After losses by most of the other contenders for the second Wild Card (except for the Dodgers who beat the Cardinals, thank you very much) the Phils are three games back again, now tied with the Pirates.
So let the scoreboard watching continue!
And buckle your seat belts. The next couple of weeks should be quite a ride.