Hamels strikes out 13, wins 4th straight
Weary after throwing a career-high 127 pitches, Cole Hamels wanted to double-check his math and was relieved to be reassured his next start was six days away.
''Great,'' he said. ''I need an extra day off.''
Hamels had a season-high 13 strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings Tuesday, and the Philadelphia Phillies increased their lead in the NL East to two games by beating Florida 2-1.
Hamels (11-10) gave up three hits and a run in the first inning, then dominated. He said he felt strong even as his pitch count mounted.
''Once you get to 110 or 112, you kind of get over the hump and go,'' he said. ''But it will be a lot harder the next couple of days.''
The left-hander's next start will be Monday to begin an important series against second-place Atlanta. Philadelphia increased its cushion in the division when the Braves lost to Washington 6-0.
Hamels said he paid no attention to how the Braves were doing, but manager Charlie Manuel confessed to scoreboard-watching.
''You can't help but see it,'' Manuel said. ''It's sitting right there in front of you. It's all right as long as they're losing. When they've got a big lead, it's not good.''
The Phils were forced to nurse a small lead because they totaled only five hits and went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Shane Victorino scored both runs for the Phillies.
Florida ended Hamels' streak of 25 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings in the first on Dan Uggla's RBI infield single. But the Marlins managed only three hits the rest of the way.
Hamels won his fourth consecutive start, and won for the first time in seven career starts in Miami.
''He's locked in right now. It's fun to see,'' Phillies closer Brad Lidge said. ''He has complete command and confidence with all his pitches.''
Lidge, pitching for the first time since Sept. 6, earned his 22nd save in 27 chances with a perfect ninth.
Hamels blamed his high pitch count on the Marlins, traditionally a free-swinging ballclub.
''That team has become more patient,'' he said. ''That's a lot different from the previous couple of years. They're willing to get behind in the count and work you. I feel like it was a full count on almost every guy.''
Philadelphia beat Florida for the fourth time in a row and improved to 12-5 against the Marlins. The Phillies have won 12 of their past 13 series, and ace Roy Halladay will help them try for a three-game sweep Wednesday.
The Phils have won 16 of their past 19 road games.
Florida rookie Adalberto Mendez (1-1) allowed two runs in 4 1-3 innings.
''It's disappointing when Mendez and the bullpen give us that kind of outing and we can't do anything with it,'' Florida's Logan Morrison said.
Mendez pitched six shutout innings to beat the Phillies in his major-league debut last week, but this time they needed only four pitches to score. Victorino led off with a single and came home on Placido Polanco's double.
Philadelphia went ahead to stay in the fifth. Victorino led off with a double and later scored from third on Jayson Werth's groundout.
Uggla kept the game close with two defensive gems at second base. Playing 30 feet behind the infield dirt, he made a diving stop of a grounder and threw from his knees to retire Ryan Howard in the first inning. Uggla made a similar play to get Hamels in the fourth.
Notes: Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins (strained right hamstring) rejoined the team and remains day to day. He has been sidelined since last Wednesday. ... The Phillies have decided to shuffle the rotation so Hamels, Halladay and Roy Oswalt will face Atlanta next Monday-Wednesday. Kyle Kendrick, who had been scheduled to pitch Friday, will instead pitch Saturday. Oswalt, who was scheduled to pitch Saturday, will pitch Friday on normal rest. ... The Phillies said RHP Juan Ramirez, one of three prospects acquired in the Cliff Lee trade, underwent right hip labral surgery last week. He has begun a rehabilitation program and is expected to be ready for spring training. ... Marlins CF Cameron Maybin was sent home before the game with a stomach virus. ... RHP Jorge Sosa will make his first start since 2007 for Florida on Wednesday. ... Before the game, the Marlins recalled RHP Brett Sinkbeil from Triple-A New Orleans. ... The start was delayed 20 minutes by rain.