ATLANTA -- The Phillies have started to win again, but Cole Hamels cautions this still isn't the kind of team that can "steamroll" opponents the way they have in recent seasons.
Hamels predicts more close games ahead for Philadelphia, just like Tuesday night when John Mayberry Jr. doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2.The Phillies (12-12), the five-time defending NL East champions, have won five of seven to return to .500 after finishing April at 11-12 for their first losing record in a full month since going 11-15 in June 2009."I still think we have a lot of work to do," said Hamels, who gave up two runs in six innings, leaving with the game tied 2-2."We just have to keep battling. Things aren't going to come easy. Sometimes we have months in the past where things just seemed like they were easy because it seemed like we could just steamroll through a team. It's not going to be that case anymore."Hamels said other teams in the NL East "are just too good" and the Phillies are missing injured stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley."We've got injuries and we've got to battle through and just kind of play harder than we've been accustomed to," Hamels said. "Hopefully the easy wins will come, but I don't think there will be that many in store."The Phillies are starting a stretch of nine straight games against NL East rivals."This is where we can make up our ground," Hamels said. "Hopefully this can kind of spark us into being the team that we know we're capable of being and what everybody obviously expects us to be. We're playing against better teams and teams that have better records than us and we have to change that and start getting momentum back on our side and things will flow a lot easier."After Brandon Beachy gave up only two runs in seven innings to outlast Hamels, the Phillies broke a 2-2 tie with two runs against left-hander Jonny Venters (2-1).Mayberry, in the game as a pinch-hitter, doubled to right with one out, moved to third on Jimmy Rollins' single and scored on Venters' wild pitch to Placido Polanco. Shane Victorino added an infield hit and Pence singled to right, driving in Rollins for a 4-2 lead.Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said the bloop double could be a spark for Mayberry, who was hitting only .204."That's getting the job done, that's a big hit, an important hit," Manuel said."A blooper can definitely get you going. Sometimes that's one of the best feelings in baseball, I think."Antonio Bastardo (1-1) pitched a perfect seventh. Jonathan Papelbon earned his ninth save by retiring the Braves in order in the ninth.Venters gave up four hits and two runs, the first he has allowed in 10 games, while recording two outs."Brandon pitched his butt off," Venters said. "For me to give it away like that is unacceptable."I left some sinkers up in the zone and they don't miss those pitches."Rollins and Pence each had two hits."They're missing a couple big pieces but that's still a formidable lineup they're throwing out there every day," Beachy said.The Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Polanco singled and moved to third on a double by Pence with two outs. Ty Wigginton followed with a single which skipped past left fielder Martin Prado. Pence ran past third base before Prado's error, so Wigginton, who advanced to third, was credited with two RBIs.After Brian McCann's homer in the fourth, the Braves pulled even with one run off Hamels in the sixth. Singles by Freddie Freeman and Matt Diaz and a walk to McCann loaded the bases. Freeman scored from third on Juan Francisco's flyball to left field.Beachy gave up five hits and two runs in seven innings.The Braves helped Beachy with two strong defensive plays in the seventh. Tyler Pastornicky made a diving grab of Pence's line drive to open the inning. Matt Diaz, running at full speed, then caught Wigginton's liner at the right-field wall.
The Phillies placed RHP David Herndon on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation and called up RHP Brian Sanches from Triple A Lehigh Valley. Herndon was having tests on the elbow in Philadelphia. ... Braves RF Jason Heyward was held out for the second straight day with soreness around his right oblique muscle, and he said he may not play on Wednesday. 3B Chipper Jones, also held out, has started only 12 of 24 games. ... Phillies RHP Roy Halladay, who is 4-1 in his career against Atlanta, will start in Wednesday night's game against Braves RHP Tommy Hanson.