WASHINGTON -- Almost every time Cole Hamels has taken the mound this season, the Philadelphia Phillies have been able to count on him to pitch deep into the game.
The left-hander did it again Tuesday night against the Washington Nationals, pitching into the eighth inning and allowing five hits in a 4-0 victory that ended the Nationals' seven-game winning streak.In 29 starts this season, Hamels (12-8) has pitched at least seven innings 23 times -- the most in the majors. He has a 3.01 ERA in 203 innings."He gets a quality start pretty much every time out," Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "He gives you a chance to win. His record doesn't necessarily indicate that, but his ERA does. Sometimes good pitchers run into bad luck. There have been games we have blown, games that we just haven't scored, and then there are games like tonight, where all it takes is one or two runs and he can work with it."Rollins gave Hamels most of what he had to work with with two RBI-singles and a walk.The Phillies remained two games behind first-place New York in NL East.Washington's winning streak was its longest since a 10-game run in 2005, but it ended as J.C. Romero, Chad Durbin and Brad Lidge finished the six-hitter. The Nationals have been shut out 20 times, seven more than any other major league team."Coming out of a game is disappointing in a sense, because whenever you start one you want to finish," said Hamels, who pitched 7 1/3 innings Tuesday. "But the bullpen, all year I've had the confidence in them and they were able to get the job done -- and did fabulous."John Lannan (8-13) took the loss, giving up two runs and five hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out four."It's definitely a tough lineup," Lannan said. "That's why they're battling for first place with the Mets right now. They're tough from top to bottom. You don't really get any breaks."Nationals catcher Jesus Flores was carted off the field in the third inning after Philadelphia's Chase Utley barreled into him on a play at the plate."When I saw him in the type of pain that he was, I was very worried," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "I felt really bad for the kid, but X-rays were negative and it just looks like an ankle sprain right now. We'll have an MRI tomorrow and we'll find out more about it, but the good news is that the X-rays didn't show anything."The collision came as Utley was attempting to steal home with two outs. With runners on first and third, Lannan made a pickoff throw to first and Utley broke for home.Utley arrived at the plate just after the throw from first baseman Ronnie Belliard and crashed hard into Flores. After he tagged out Utley, Flores stayed on the ground near home plate for several minutes as his left leg was attended to by trainers and medical personnel.Eventually, Flores was placed on a stretcher and carted off the field. He was replaced by Wil Nieves."His cleat just got stuck in front of home plate and that's why his ankle wouldn't give in, but we didn't think it was a dirty play," Acta said.Utley said he was just trying to generate some offense. He knew Lannan has a slow move to first, and once he reached third he was planning to go home on a pickoff attempt. When Lannan made the move, Utley went."I felt like I got a good jump, Belliard made a quick throw home, and there you have it," Utley said. "I thought the only option I had at that point to be safe was to try and knock the ball loose. ... My intention was definitely not to hurt him, my intention was to knock the ball loose."Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he supported the decision to break for home, and had no problem with how Utley finished the play."It's not old school, it's good school," Manuel said.The collision was the second play at the plate for Flores on Tuesday.Earlier in the third inning, Rollins singled home Carlos Ruiz from second. The throw from left fielder Willie Harris was in time but slightly to the right of Flores, who missed the ball as he tried for a sweep tag on Ruiz. Rollins, who went to second on the throw, scored on Utley's single.The Phillies tacked on two more runs in the seventh, the first on another RBI single by Rollins. Ruiz then scored as Rollins was caught in a rundown between first and second during an inning-ending double play.
Nationals SS Cristian Guzman was named co-NL Player of the Week Tuesday. Guzman, who hit for the cycle Thursday against the Dodgers, has at least two hits in seven straight games, but was given a rest Tuesday. ... Nationals LHP Mike Hinckley made his major league debut in the seventh. He pitched 1 2/3 hitless innings, striking out two.