Cole Hamels outdueled Dan Haren, pitching eight crisp innings while punching out nine, as the Phillies grabbed game two over the D-Backs.
Summary: Showing signs of turning the corner lately, Hamels put it all together for one of his best outings of the season, challenging hitters with first-pitch strikes, mixing his fastball/changeup and staying away from the middle of the plate. Meanwhile, the offense chased Haren with patient at bats, burning him for 117 pitches over five innings. The Phils also capitalized on some poor Diamondbacks' defense for the second night in a row. Shane Victorino continued his torrid July by blasting his eighth homer of the season. Handed a comfortable 4-1 lead in the ninth, Brad Lidge let up a two-run Mark Reynolds homer for another dicey save by the Phillies' lost closer. With the win, the defending champs (58-40) moved to 19-5 in July and 31-15 on the road. They hold a seven-game lead over the second-place Marlins.
Beerleaguer: Up front, Hamels' composure was a sight for sore eyes. At the back, Lidge hasn't had the feel all season and remains the Phillies' most pressing, least mentioned concern. Nevertheless, after winning 10 straight, I expected this team to let up, especially out on the road, yet here they are, building another winning streak. They're relentless.