Cole Hamels looked like the Bizarro World's Cole Hamels the last two times he pitched for the Phillies.
He kept the ball up in the strike zone. He lacked command.
He allowed 13 earned runs in just 9 2/3 innings, but the Phillies wanted no one else on the mound yesterday at Citizens Bank Park to punctuate their best 10-game homestand since 1995.
Hamels pitched his second career shutout - his second in his last five starts - in a 5-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
"It's huge," Hamels said. "Coming into this homestand, we knew we had to play some good games just because we had the Marlins and they were in first place at the time. It's just going out there and being ourselves. Scoring a lot of runs did help, and the pitching did help tremendously."
The Phillies finished the homestand 8-2, winning all three games against Colorado, two of three against Florida, and three of four against Cincinnati. They have not had a 10-game homestand like that since they finished 8-2 against San Francisco, San Diego and the Los Angeles Dodgers from Aug. 18 to Aug. 27, 1995, at Veterans Stadium.
"It's huge for us just to establish what we want to do this summer," Hamels said.
Hamels (6-4) helped the Phillies hit the road for nine games on the right note. He allowed just three hits and three walks. He struck out four as he threw an economical 103 pitches, 66 of them strikes.
"The past couple starts, I really didn't feel like myself just because of all the runs I've been giving up and not being able to help the team out," Hamels said. "It's been a big focus the past couple days to gather myself and get back to a place where I know I can go out there and help the team.
"I think a lot of it is that I'm not a power-power pitcher. I think being a guy who doesn't throw 98 [m.p.h.], you really can't stay up in the zone with fastballs. And that's something where I was getting into trouble a lot, was leaving pitches up in the zone, and they were able to hit them."
So Hamels kept the ball down in the strike zone and got aggressive.
"When you're able to attack the zone and throw strike one and strike two, you're able to get the hitters to be impatient and off-balance and get themselves out," Hamels said.