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Phillies blast Braves

POSTED: May 9, 2009 12:30 a.m.
TOM MIHALEK/The Associated Press

Atlanta Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar mishandles a ball hit by the Philadelphia Phillies' Pedro Feliz in the second inning Friday in Philadelphia.

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PHILADELPHIA — Cole Hamels left the mound on his terms.

Hamels pitched six impressive innings to earn his first win since the World Series, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 10-6 on Friday night.

Jayson Werth, Chris Coste and Chase Utley homered for the NL East leaders, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

Making his first start since spraining his left ankle on April 28, Hamels (1-2) allowed two runs, three hits and struck out seven. Hamels was MVP of the NL championship series and World Series last year, but struggled the first month mostly because of a series of freak injuries.

“I’m glad nothing came down and hit me,” he said. “It was almost abnormal, being out there in the sixth inning.”

Atlanta’s Casey Kotchman hit a three-run homer off Brad Lidge in the ninth, and Omar Infante also went deep.

Braves starter Jo-Jo Reyes (0-2) lost his ninth straight, allowing eight runs — four earned — and five hits in five innings.

The left-hander hasn’t won since beating the Los Angeles Angels last June 13.

Hamels has been plagued by injuries this season. His first start was pushed back because he had minor elbow problems in spring training. He left his third outing against Milwaukee on April 23 after getting hit in the shoulder by a line drive in the fourth inning. He exited his next start when he hurt his ankle chasing a bunt in the fifth inning against Washington.

The ace lefty looked like his old self against the Braves, mixing a sharp fastball with his trademark changeup. Hamels retired the first 11 batters before Chipper Jones reached on an infield single in the fourth.

“I really wanted to go somewhat deep in the game,” said Hamels, who lowered his ERA to 6.17.

The Phillies scored four unearned runs on just one hit off Reyes in the second, taking advantage of a pair of errors. Pedro Feliz reached safely when shortstop Yunel Escobar booted his two-out grounder, putting runners at first and second. After Coste walked to load the bases, Hamels hit a slow roller that Reyes fielded near the first-base line. But Reyes’ throw sailed into right field, allowing two runs to score.

“He didn’t cover up an error,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said of Reyes. “You’ve got to be able to cover a mistake.”

Jimmy Rollins followed with a two-run double to center for a 4-0 lead. Werth ripped a two-run shot after Ryan Howard hit a ground-rule double to make it 6-0 in the third. Brian McCann, playing his first game since missing 13 with a left eye infection, had a two-run single in the fourth. McCann wore glasses for the first time in a major league game.

“I saw the ball pretty good at the plate. Catching, it fogs up pretty bad,” McCann said.

Coste’s solo homer made it 7-2. Utley, who struck out swinging his first two at-bats, drove one into the second deck in right field his next time up for his ninth homer.

Notes: Phillies CF Shane Victorino was 0-for-5, ending his career-best 16-game hitting streak. ... The Phillies will visit the White House before next Friday’s game at Washington. They were originally scheduled for a visit on April 14, but that was postponed because of the death of legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas. ... Despite the three homers allowed by Reyes, Atlanta’s staff still leads the NL in giving up the fewest long balls with 20. ... Hamels was the first starting pitcher to go winless in April after being World Series MVP since Johnny Podres in 1955-56. Podres didn’t pitch the following April because he joined the Navy. ... Lidge has allowed five homers in 11 2-3 innings. He gave up just two last year when he was 48-for-48 in save chances, including the postseason.



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