Cole Hamels erased any lingering concerns about his shoulder and Shane Victorino delivered a clutch home run as the Phillies overcame Placido Polanco's worst game of the season to nip the Reds, 3-2.
The pitching: Hamels was terrific in his first start since August 12. He threw 76 pitches (50 strikes) over six innings, showing no ill-effects from the shoulder injury that kept him out 2 1/2 weeks. Hamels gave up just one run, two hits and did not walk a batter. He struck out seven, many coming on changeups. Antonio Bastardo worked an impressive seventh inning and Michael Stutes logged the eighth, retiring Joey Votto with runners on first and third to end the frame. Ryan Madson pitched around a baserunner in the ninth to earn the save, snapping the Phils' brief two-game skid.
The offense: Victorino launched a first-pitch curveball from Homer Bailey into the right-field seats for a tie-breaking, two-run homer in the eighth. Hunter Pence, Carlos Ruiz and Wilson Valdez strung together hits in the fifth inning, leading to the Phillies’ first run.
The nightmare: On the other end of the spectrum, Polanco went 0-for-4. He grounded out to the pitcher, in addition to striking out three times in a game for the first time since July 3, 2009 in a 16-inning game between the Tigers and Twins. The last time he had three K’s in a nine-inning game was May 31, 2008 against Felix Hernandez. Furthermore, Polanco had two misplays at third base in the eighth inning - one on a hard-hit grounder and the other on a short-hopped throw to first base, allowing the Reds to make it a 3-2 game.
Next up: The Phillies continue their four-game set with the Reds on Tuesday night. Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.56) squares off against Bronson Arroyo (8-10, 5.02), who is 1-6 with a 7.13 ERA lifetime against the Phils.