video thumbnail

NYM@PHI: Wigginton clears the bases with a double

PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels had seen this movie before. He had pitched seven strong innings, allowing just two runs, but the Phillies were behind.

"You just keep plugging away," Hamels said. "If you can do that and keep the intensity and the focus, you're going to be able to have games like this where you win it in the end."

It doesn't always work out that way, but it did on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park, as the Phillies got to the Mets' bullpen for two runs in the bottom of the seventh and added five unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth to take the series finale, 8-2.

Hamels gave up a two-run homer to Mets first baseman Ike Davis in the top of the first but was dominant after that. The left-hander ended up striking out 10, the 19th double-digit-strikeout game of his career, and walked just one. After Davis' homer, only one other Mets runner got past first base against him.

He insists he wasn't thinking that he couldn't afford to give up another run.

"I think you put it behind you," he said. "I think I've become very good at just getting over and starting back over. No matter what occurred, I need to get the next guy out. And I think that's something I've probably had to learn the hard way.

"It takes time to learn," he added. "When you come up the ranks, your ultimate goal is just to become a big leaguer. You have to be able to keep plugging away and doing your job, no matter what is going on. You can't let things distract you. You have to pull together with your catcher and just really execute your pitches one at a time. The game of baseball can really come down to the kind of guys who know how to grind it out.

"That's what all of us starters try to do. We're not going to hit home runs. We're not going to score all the runs. Our main part to be on this team is to go out and pitch no matter what happens. And I think that's what I've learned. If I do what I'm capable of doing and what's expected of me, that's all I can do. That's all I bring to the team."

A win is a win, and the Phillies are happy to have it, especially after dropping the first two games of the series. Manager Charlie Manuel, however, said that the offense still has to become more productive.

Without injured stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, the Phillies have hit five home runs; only the Pirates have fewer. Their last 10 hits were singles before Laynce Nix doubled with two outs in the seventh.

"That has been our problem, really," Manuel said. "We do get a couple of hits, and all of a sudden, we can't get a big one that knocks in runs. That has been a problem. That's something we have to work on.

"It makes you feel good [knowing that the starter will probably keep you in the game]. Also, too, you've got to score runs. We talk defense and pitching. But then again, along comes the offense. And that's kind of the engine that creates the fire and the running power for everything to fall in place."

Manuel conceded that he worries about how the starters will react if the lineup doesn't perk up.

"If you don't score runs, eventually it can wear and tear on your pitcher," he said. "We don't want our pitcher to think every time he takes the mound he has to throw a shutout or he has to be perfect. We want him to be relaxed where he can throw the type games all of them are capable of throwing. Therefore we definitely have to score some runs.

"Offense creates energy. It shows a lot of energy, it shows a lot of effort, it shows a lot of happiness. Everybody's happy when you have offense, and we definitely want to improve our offense."

Two bench players played a pivotal role in the comeback. Nix's double was his first hit as a Phillie, and Ty Wigginton delivered a bases-loaded double in the eighth that helped put away the game.

"[Hamels] is pretty much the reason we won this game," Wigginton said. "He didn't let them get any more [runs]. He shut the door on them, and any time you get a pitcher out there battling like that, you want to do whatever you can, you want to do everything possible to help him out.

"There's definitely been no panic. Guys come here preparing and expecting to win. And when you get those two things together, good things usually happen in the end."

At this time good things did happen for the Phillies at the end. Comments