Cole Hamels was not at his best on Wednesday afternoon. Usually that’s a recipe for a Philadelphia Phillies loss. But thanks to the bullpen and some mistakes by the Seattle Mariners, Hamels was able to emerge with a victory.
Hamels has been dazzling lately, but it was clear early on that this was not going to be one of his better outings. He surrendered a run in the second thanks to a Kendrys Morales home run, and after the Phillies tied it up, he allowed the Mariners to score two more runs.
Considering the meager amount of run support Hamels typically receives, the 3-1 deficit looked deadly. But the Phillies weren’t done scoring, and thanks in part to Mariners pitcher James Paxton, they were able to take the lead.
With a runner aboard, Wil Nieves hit a ball off of Paxton’s leg. The pitcher still had a chance to make a play, but committed a throwing error that put runners at second and third.
Three runs ended up scoring in the inning. One came home due to a passed ball. Another was scored via ground out. Chase Utley drove in the winning run when he basically just threw his bat at the ball, and slung it into right field.
Thanks to a high pitch count, Hamels was done after five innings, so the bullpen would need to protect that one-run lead over the last four innings. Fortunately, they were up to the task. Jake Diekman struck out four batters in two scoreless innings, Ken Giles struck out the side in the eighth, and Jonathan Papelbon worked around a two-out hit to close it out.
The victory gave the Phillies a rare series victory over an American League team. Their next shot against an AL team won’t come until mid-September when they travel to Oakland.
After Thursday’s off day, the Phillies will welcome the Cardinals to town for a three-game series.