Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Phils win Game 1

Cole Hamels hurled eight shutout innings as Philadelphia downed Milwaukee, 3-1, in Game 1 of their National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park.

Hamels (1-0) used great location and a dominating change-up to keep an
undisciplined Brewers lineup off-balance throughout. He allowed just two hits
and one walk while striking out nine batters. The left-hander retired the
first 14 batters he faced before Corey Hart lined a clean single to right with
two outs in the fifth inning.

"Obviously his power changeup is as good as there is in baseball from any
left-hander," Brewers manager Dave Sveum said. "And he had a pretty decent
breaking ball, even though he didn't throw it a lot, but it's probably the
best breaking ball we've seen in a while from what we've seen in our scouting
reports and stuff. But, I mean, that changeup is as good as I've seen before
and obviously he had everything working today."

Phillies closer Brad Lidge struggled mightily in the ninth, however, and
surrendered a run before allowing the tying runs to reach second and third
with two outs. The flame-thrower then fanned Hart to end the contest.

Chase Utley had a two-run double for the Phillies, who managed just four hits
but won their first postseason game since 1993.

Philadelphia was swept in the Division Series last year by the eventual NL
champion Colorado Rockies and are making consecutive playoff appearances for
the first time since 1980 and '81.

The Brewers were playing postseason baseball for the first time since winning
the American League pennant in 1982.

Milwaukee pitcher Yovani Gallardo (0-1) became the first pitcher in major
league history to start Game 1 of the postseason for his team after appearing
in less then 10 games during the regular season.

The 22-year-old right-hander was making just his second appearance since
ACL surgery in May and was let down by his defense. Gallardo, who was on a
strict pitch count, lasted just four innings and allowed three unearned runs
on three hits while walking five and striking out three.

"Besides the walks, I think he had decent stuff," Sveum said. "He felt pretty
strong. That young man battled and did a fine job for us and kept us in the
ball game."

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is set for Thursday in Philadelphia with the
Phillies' Brett Myers toeing the rubber against Milwaukee ace CC Sabathia.

The Phillies jumped on top with three runs in the third thanks to some
shoddy Milwaukee defense. Carlos Ruiz led off the frame with a single up the
middle and Hamels followed by laying down a bunt to try and advance the
catcher. Bill Hall bobbled the ball but still made a solid throw in plenty of
time to get Hamels. Rickie Weeks, couldn't handle the throw, however, and
Philadelphia had runners on at first and second for the top of its order.

Gallardo flirted with getting out of the trouble by getting Jimmy Rollins on a
pop up to left and fanning Jayson Werth. But, Utley followed with a hard hit
ball to center that Mike Cameron flubbed, enabling both runners to score.
Normally a superb fielder, Cameron took a bad path to the ball in windy
conditions and had to lunge to make the catch. The ball went in-and-out of his
glove and Utley was credited with a two-run double.

"If it isn't caught, nobody can not catch it except Mike Cameron," Sveum said.
"So I never question anything he does in center field. He's as good a center
fielder as I've ever been around in my 27 years in the game."

The play seemed to rattle Gallardo and, after intentionally walking the
dangerous Ryan Howard, the young starter walked Pat Burrell and Shane
Victorino to force in another run and make it a 3-0 game.

The Brewers best scoring chance off Hamels was in the sixth when Craig
Counsell slapped a one-out single up the middle and Cameron followed by
drawing a walk. Hamels settled down from there, punching out Hall and then
getting Ryan Braun to pop out to end the inning.

Hamels hit the 100-pitch mark after the eighth inning and the Phillies went to
Lidge in the ninth, opening the door for the Brewers. The closer managed to
fan Cameron looking but pinch-hitter Ray Durham singled to right and came
around to score when Braun sliced a double down the right field line and Utley
dropped the relay throw. Prince Fielder followed by striking out, but J.J.
Hardy walked and both runners then advanced into scoring position when Lidge
uncorked a wild pitch.

Hart stepped to the plate with an opportunity to deadlock things with a single
but struck out swinging to end the game.
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