WASHINGTON - This is the way it has been throughout this hard-to-explain season for Cole Hamels. Things fell apart quickly again.
After pitching six scoreless innings, Hamels surrendered five runs in the seventh on Sunday as the Phillies dropped a 6-1 decision to the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.
Once again, Hamels was not helped by his offense or his defense as he saw his record drop to 1-8 and his team's to 24-26.
"He threw excellent today and everything worked for him," Phillies catcher Humberto Quintero said. "There was bad luck today and it was one of those days."
Actually, those days are becoming commonplace when Hamels pitches.
The Phillies have scored only 20 runs this season while Hamels is in the game (69 innings). Over his last nine starts, the Phillies have scored just 13 runs when he is in the game.
Hamels, with a 4.43 ERA, said he doesn't walk around in frustration, but there was one thing that bothered him about Sunday.
"Just not having the win," he said. "Getting back to .500 is where we want to be so we can start over."
Ryan Zimmerman led off Washington's seventh inning with an infield single. He hit a slow roller to second and Freddy Galvis attempted to flip the ball from his glove to first, but Zimmerman just beat the throw. Adam LaRoche then hit a single to right, putting runners on first and second.
The runners advanced a base on Ian Desmond's bunt.
Tyler Moore, hitting .135 at the time, wasn't given anything good to hit in the first three pitches and then was intentionally walked on the fourth to load the bases.
Jhonatan Solano hit a slow roller that third baseman Michael Young fielded on the run, but his throw home for the force bounced past Quintero. Two runs scored and the play was ruled a fielder's choice and an error on Young.
"I know I have to go for it. If it were in the beginning of the game I might have thought twice and set my feet and got the out at first," Young said. "But there, I know I have to go to the plate."
Steve Lombardozzi then roped a two-run double down the first-base line. Hamels was replaced by Justin De Fratus, who served a two-out RBI double to Denard Span for the fifth run of the inning.
Hamels allowed six hits and five runs (three earned) in 61/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one. More telling was that he threw 111 pitches, including 25 in the first inning.
With the way Washington's Stephen Strasburg was dealing, this was a day when the Phillies' margin for error was slim.
Strasburg, who has never thrown a complete game, pitched eight innings, allowing one run on five hits. He struck out nine and walked none while throwing 112 pitches.
The only run the Phillies scored was in the eighth inning when Strasburg balked Ben Revere home.
Ryan Howard's knee was sore, so Kevin Frandsen started at first base. He was hit in the hand by a 95-m.p.h. fastball while attempting to bunt. He said afterward his hand felt all right. Frandsen was ejected in the fourth inning after he slammed his bat following a strikeout.
It was that type of day for the Phillies, another in which unusual things occurred when Hamels took the mound.