MIAMI - The last time Cole Hamels threw a pitch with his team in the lead was April 7. It was a crisp Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, in the high 50s, with the wind gusting to center. The season was six games old. In the fifth inning, Billy Butler smashed a 92-m.p.h. Hamels fastball to left for a grand slam. Hamels pitched to eight more batters that day, a 9-8 Phillies loss to Kansas City, and suffered his second loss of 2013.
That was 44 days ago.
"That's amazing," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I wish I had the answer."
Hamels did not wish to answer any questions again Tuesday. He brushed past reporters Monday, declining comment, and was out the clubhouse door until a voice stopped him.
"Hambone!" Rich Dubee yelled.
The pitching coach wanted to offer words of encouragement after what was Hamels' best outing in 2013. He struck out 10, walked none, and would have continued pitching beyond six innings had a pinch-hitter not been required.
But Hamels has seven losses, most in the majors. The Phillies are 1-9 when he pitches. They have scored 27 runs in Hamels' 10 starts and a total of 15 runs in his last eight. Hamels' ERA during that stretch is 3.12. His record is 1-5.
"I'm sure it's confusing to him when he pitches like he did last night and it's hard for him to win," Manuel said. "That's the competitor in him, that's the part that was upset. He probably thought it was best that he didn't talk."
The Internet was rife with conspiracy theories Monday night when the Phillies' telecast showed Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia spit on a baseball immediately after allowing a home run to Domonic Brown.
Manuel was not bothered by the incident.
"Not really," he said Tuesday. "It happens all the time. I didn't see it."
The umpiring crew did not see it either. Later in the game, first-base umpire Joe West saw Sanabia improperly put his hand to his mouth and instructed that the ball be thrown away. Pitchers are allowed to lick their fingers if they are not on the mound, and many do that before rubbing a new ball.
Rule 8.02 of the Major League Baseball rule book allows the umpire leeway in deciding whether the doctoring of the ball was intentional. West decided there was no malice on the ball he saw.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond was also unaware of Sanabia's act. Sanabia declined to speak to reporters Tuesday.
"I think it probably was unintentional," Redmond said. "He was rubbing the ball. I don't think it was an intentional thing. I think he just did it probably without even knowing. Joe saw it and threw the ball out."
Redmond said no one from MLB contacted the team about any penalties.