Coley smoke! Phils' Hamels win battle of phenoms
SAN FRANCISCO - In the prime-time meeting of the phenoms, one settled. The other didn't.
Cole Hamels, 23, in his 30th career start and his first on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball," pitched through Wes Helms' two errors and lasted seven innings of the Phillies' 8-5 win over the Giants, striking out nine and allowing three earned runs to move to 4-1.
The Phillies earned a split in the four-game series and are 3-4 on their 10-game road trip.
Tim Lincecum, in his major league debut just 11 months after being selected by the Giants in the first round, was not as resilient. Lincecum, 22, gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings, needing 100 pitches. He walked five and gave up five hits while striking out five. Lincecum dealt at 98 mph but gave up a pair of two-run homers and a quirky fifth run.
Hamels, nicknamed "Hollywood," basked in the moment.
"It was good," he said after throwing a career-high 118 pitches, 84 for strikes. "It puts a little extra strain on me, knowing I'll be on TV, knowing people will be watching me."
Lincecum was less of a ham.
The first of the homers he allowed was by hot No. 2 hitter Shane Victorino, his first of the season. Victorino was 10-for-17 with seven runs scored, four RBI and six of the Phils' 11 stolen bases in the series. This, after being benched by manager Charlie Manuel for the two games in Atlanta that preceded the four-game set here - a benching Victorino openly resented.
"I think Charlie got his attention," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said.
"Rest," said the smallish rightfielder, who now appreciates Manuel's strategy. "And revenge."
Ice-cold Ryan Howard was benched Saturday and was hitting .196 when he faced Lincecum in the third. He drilled a two-out, 1-0 pitch to centerfield, his fifth homer of the year but only his second hit in 15 at-bats in May.
That turned a 3-2 Giants lead, garnered in part because of Helms' fielding error in the first inning, into a 4-3 Phillies lead.
Victorino singled and scored again in the fifth, though it took some clever running. He broke too quickly for second base and was caught in a rundown. Shortstop Omar Vizquel forced Victorino back toward first base; after he tossed the ball, Vizquel tried but failed to avoid Victorino, who abruptly turned and ran into the shorstop. Second base umpire Gary Cederstom ruled Vizquel interfered and Vizquel was charged with an error.
"Running into [Vizquel] was my only escape," Victorino said. "I said, 'I'm running right into him, trying to get an interference call.' "
So, when Victorino scored four hitters later on a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3, the run was unearned.
That lead evaporated in the bottom of the inning. With a man on second and nobody out, Helms threw the ball away on a slow roller down the line - the sort of play he struggles to make. Hamels got an out but gave up two singles that tied it at 5.
Hamels helped his cause in the sixth, though, with a one-out double off Vinnie Chulk. He scored on Rollins' triple, his fifth of the season, tied for the league high. Chase Utley's double off lefty Jack Taschner scored Rollins for a 7-5 lead.
Rollins, a Bay-area native, finished the series 7-for-20 with five runs scored and three triples, delightful for the 20 guests he had in the stands.
"For me, it's definitely sweet. It's the first time I've had a [good] series here," said Rollins, a 7-year veteran. "I finally gave my family a good reason to come to the ballpark and cheer."
Usually, Rollins' base-stealing is a main reason why he gets cheered. Last night, rookie defensive specialist Michael Bourn got those kudos.
In the seventh, leftfielder Pat Burrell walked, his fourth of the night. Bourn replaced him, as usual. Bourn then stole second, then third, then scored on Helms' groundout to Vizquel, who was playing on the grass and charged the ball. Bourn beat his throw.
With the bullpen strapped - closer Tom Gordon and middle reliever Ryan Madson both went on the 15-day disabled list during this 10-game trip - Geoff Geary was perfect in the eighth and Brett Myers collected his second save in as many chances with a scoreless ninth. *