Cole Hamels continued his Cincinnati dominance with six strong innings, while Jimmy Rollins continued his ascent from the abyss, as the Phillies grabbed game one at Great American Ball Park.
Good win, and comforting to see a couple of main players start to come around. Mr. Everything, Ryan Howard, got the Phils on the board first with a solo shot in the second while flashing some glove in the field. Rollins' RBI double started a three-run fifth and extended his hitting streak to eight games. He's hitting .324 during that span and has scored nine runs, looking noticeably better and stronger at the plate. Afterward, he told Sarge Matthews he's made some adjustments to his stance. Chase Utley followed with an RBI single, then it was Raul Ibanez's turn with a sac fly. All of this came at the expense of Johnny Cueto, who entered the game with a 1.93 ERA.
Hamels pitched better than his six-inning, three-run line suggests, surrendering a pair of solo homers and a sac fly, set up by a Jayson Werth misplay in right. He appears to be back in charge every time he climbs the hill and is right back to being the pitcher we saw during the World Series. Brad Lidge picked up his eighth save, but not before putting the tying run on second and winning run on first with one out.
Overall, a clean game with great pitching and continued execution from the revamped lineup. It's hard to imagine a sound effort like this happening at home. Interesting note: Charlie Manuel handed the seventh inning to Clay Condrey in a tight spot, signifying his rise to late inning prominence. Introducing your new 7-8-9 troika: Condrey, Madson and Lidge.
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