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Monday, April 11, 2011

Hamels Rebounds, Phils Win Third Straight Series

Perhaps Cole Hamels’ place among the “Four Aces” was revoked (by some) a bit too soon.

Hamels lead the Phillies to their third consecutive series victory to open the season on Sunday, with 7 innings of shutout pitching against the Atlanta Braves. He gave up just 4 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 8 batters. Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras completed the shutout. The pitching didn’t get much run support, as the Phils took the game 3-0.

That was in stark contrast to what Roy Oswalt received the previous game, when the Phillies bats came alive late to score 10 runs. Oswalt pitched well, going 6 innings and giving up Atlanta’s only earned run of the game. Shane Victorino led the offensive barrage with 4 hits and an RBI. The catcher’s spot in the lineup accounted for two home runs, as Carlos Ruiz put the game away with a pinch hit grand slam. Brian Schneider homered earlier in the game.

The Phils needed both victories to take the series after the Braves rocked Cliff Lee for 6 runs in just 3.1 innings in the opener on Friday night. Lee gave up 10 hits. Give the bullpen credit for shutting down the Braves offense, keeping the run total where Lee left off. But Tim Hudson held the Phillies to just 2 earned runs in 7.2 innings, and got the 6-3 victory.

Obviously, it’s early in the season, but the Phillies are already two games up in the N.L. East. They’re headed to Washington and then play Florida back at home with a chance to get some early separation from the rest of the division.

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