Hamels' gem goes by boards as bullpen falters

Hamels' gem goes by boards as bullpen falters

Hamels' gem goes by boards as bullpen falters
PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels felt good after throwing seven innings of scoreless baseball. He had control of the game and still had a good feel for all four of his pitches.

"But unfortunately, when you get to that sort of sacred number, you kind of understand that [pitch counts are] kind of part of the game now," Hamels said.

The only real blemish on Hamels' line at that point was that he had thrown 111 pitches, which led manager Charlie Manuel to pull Hamels and leave the rest of the game to his bullpen.

That's when the tide turned against the Phillies. Antonio Bastardo surrendered an eighth-inning, three-run home run to Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena and the Phillies lost to the Rays, 3-2, in the first game of Sunday's day-night doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park.

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The loss spoiled a great start by Hamels, who shut down the Rays for seven innings -- allowing just three singles and striking out seven, while issuing three walks. If it wasn't for a 33-pitch fourth inning, a pitch-count killer, Hamels probably would've pitched the eighth.

"You just listen to your manager and go with [his] decision," Hamels said of leaving the game. "When you go out there, ultimately, the pitch count is kind of a factor in this day and age. When you reach a certain amount, they don't want to stress anything on your arm -- just because you have to keep coming back every five days."

Bastardo had thrown 29 pitches over 1 1/3 innings in Saturday's win and allowed a run on four hits. He started the eighth and walked two of the first three batters he faced. Then, he threw Pena a first-pitch fastball high and inside that the left-handed hitter smacked into the right-field seats.

"If I got a pitch I could drive, I wanted to put a good swing on it -- so I was ready for the fastball," Pena said. "It wasn't exactly a great pitch to hit, but I hit it -- and I hit it well enough."

Asked if the number of pitches Bastardo had thrown the previous day was worrisome entering Sunday's appearance, Manuel said, "That's our eighth-inning guy. Bastardo and [Chad] Qualls are basically who we use in the eighth inning. You should be able to throw three days in a row."

Pena's crucial swing provided the only runs the Rays scored in the game. Jimmy Rollins broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run in the sixth -- his third in as many games -- and Ty Wigginton hit an RBI single in the eighth to account for Philadelphia's scoring.

The Phillies' offense didn't have much luck against Rays starter David Price, who held them to just the one run and four hits. The left-hander struck out eight and walked three in seven innings.

But Philadelphia got a little rally going in the eighth, when Hunter Pence doubled, his second of the game, off Burke Badenhop and was knocked in by Wigginton's single. John Mayberry Jr. struck out looking and then Jim Thome was intentionally walked -- he's now tied with Mickey Mantle for seventh all-time with 1,733 walks -- to bring up Michael Martinez with the bases loaded and two outs. The Rays inserted left-hander Jake McGee. Martinez, who came to the plate with just one hit in his last 21 at-bats, flied out to right field to end the inning.

Manuel could have pinch-hit for Martinez with Juan Pierre or Mike Fontenot, but because Martinez is right-handed, the manager opted to let him face the hard-throwing left-hander. Pierre doesn't fare well against hard-throwing lefties and the right-handed Fontenot has not hit well against lefties, Manuel said after the game, before getting irritated with reporters questioning his managerial moves.

"You guys ought to sit in the dugout with me and give me all the scenarios. I don't think we know 'em," Manuel said sarcastically. "I mean you're like 'We don't know how to manage a game.' Really, I think you guys ought to sit down there with us or tweet us or something. I'll put [Director of Baseball Communications Greg Casterioto] down there where you can guys can float the information down there to me, because I ain't smart enough to get it."

Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.