Hamels, Phillies top Rox for much-needed victory

Hamels, Phillies top Rox for much-needed victory

Hamels, Phillies top Rox for much-needed victory
PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels needed this.

The Phillies needed this.

After they followed a 1-6 homestand earlier this month with a 3-6 road trip that ended on Sunday in Toronto, the Phillies came home six games under .500. They had not been six under .500 this late in the season since they were 49-55 on July 31, 2006. That year's Trade Deadline proved memorable, as former general manager Pat Gillick moved such players as Bobby Abreu, Cory Lidle, Rheal Cormier, David Bell, Ryan Franklin and Sal Fasano to retool for the future and change the chemistry in the clubhouse.

Current GM Ruben Amaro Jr. could have similar plans if the Phillies don't start winning, and they hope Tuesday's 7-2 victory over the Rockies is a step in the right direction.

"I don't think we can look for a series or homestand to turn us around," Hamels said. "I really think it's going to be one game -- get one game over with and move on to the next. If we try to create it where it's too big a deal, then we'll keep digging that hole deeper. We can't control the past or the future. We just have to try to control the present. That's kind of what we did today."

"That was a big game for us," said catcher Carlos Ruiz, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

The Phillies absolutely had to win this one. Not just because they had lost 12 of 15 after being 28-25 and 2 1/2 games out of first place on June 1. No, they needed to win because no game was set up more perfectly for a team in crisis. Hamels had a 6.08 ERA in his previous four starts, which meant he was due for a good game. And the Rockies were nearly as cold as the Phillies, losing 11 of 14 since June 1.

Hamels gave up a run in the first inning, but after he walked Rockies pitcher Josh Outman with one out in the second, he retired 13 consecutive batters until he walked Todd Helton with two outs in the sixth.

Hamels had his mojo back.

He allowed six hits, two runs, three walks and struck out seven in eight innings.

"It actually took him an inning to settle in, which you see sometimes with a lot of great starters," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "Because that's what he is, a great starter. So when they're a little unsettled -- it looked to me like he was a little unsettled in the first inning -- you have to try to cash in and put a number on him. Once he got going ... he settled in and was throwing all his pitches for strikes."

Hamels acknowledged that his recent problems had been more mental than physical.

"There's a time and a place for everything," he said. "You get another pitch. I think that's the ultimate thing. I get another chance. I throw a ton of pitches in a game, but ultimately, the most important one is the next one. I think I wasn't focusing on that."

The Phillies scored a run with two outs in the third when Jimmy Rollins walked and Placido Polanco doubled to make it 1-1. John Mayberry Jr. then hit a two-run homer to left field in the fourth inning to make it 3-1.

Mayberry has been a disappointment this season. The Phillies essentially handed him the job in left field before the season started, and they expected him to continue last season's success. But he struggled so badly that Juan Pierre has received most of the playing time in left field. But in his last five games, he is hitting .381 with two doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs.

"It's very important that he's comfortable," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's starting to swing very good."

Ruiz doubled to score Rollins in the fifth inning to make it 4-1. He later hit a two-run homer to left in the seventh to make it 7-2.

This time Hamels held the lead, and the Phillies won.

"We know what it's like to win," Hamels said. "We don't like to lose. You want to try to get back there as fast as possible, but I think you have to learn you can't force it. You have to be yourself. It's the only thing you can control. You can't control anything else. I think that's ultimately what we're trying to figure out.

"If we can just control what we can do, get back to where we're comfortable playing, then we can win ballgames."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.