Cole Hamels quiets Jayson Werth, Phillies beat Nationals

Cole Hamels gave up a solo homer to Jayson Werth in the second. He retired Werth with the bases loaded in the eighth.
Cole Hamels gave up a solo homer to Jayson Werth in the second. He retired Werth with the bases loaded in the eighth. (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 11, 2013

Dan Baker paused for drama. The public address announcer did not speak until the cheers for a Cole Hamels strikeout subsided. Finally, he bellowed those three words.

Rightfielder Jayson Werth!

A thinned crowd at Citizens Bank Park hung on every pitch Tuesday in the critical moment of a 4-2 Phillies win over Washington. "The fans," Hamels said later, "that was something we hadn't seen all year." The bases were loaded in the eighth inning of the fifth game in this season-defining 10-game stay at home.

They battled for six pitches, the two former teammates, and it was epic. Hamels threw the seventh, a 94-m.p.h. fastball, and Werth crushed it. The fans did not rise from their seats because they had stood the instant Werth's name was uttered. Werth jogged and watched. Hamels twisted and stared.

Ben Revere knew. He dashed toward the 398-foot mark in center field. Werth realized it, too. He flicked his black bat halfway up the first-base line. The ball landed in Revere's glove, a long 24th out for Hamels on his 110th pitch.

"That's what baseball is all about," Charlie Manuel said.

The manager is determined to make Ruben Amaro Jr.'s job more complex by the day. The general manager gathered his lieutenants for an organizational meeting Tuesday afternoon upstairs at Citizens Bank Park. The trade deadline arrives in 21 days. Downstairs, in the Phillies dugout, Manuel pleaded for more time.

"I don't ever think of selling," the 69-year-old manager said. "I think of winning."

The Phillies trail Washington by 11/2 games for second place. They have won four of five on this crucial homestand and six of their last eight overall. This is a team playing its best baseball at a time when the rest of the league is lurking to pick pieces from the carcass. The Phillies are not yet dead.

Hamels (4-11) leads the majors in losses. He was at his sharpest Tuesday. Werth dinged him for a solo homer in the second inning. He retired 16 of 18 Nationals after that.

The game turned in the sixth. Washington's Taylor Jordan, a veteran of two major-league starts, began the season at single A. But he apparently gained Nationals manager Davey Johnson's quick trust. Revere and Jimmy Rollins started the sixth with consecutive singles, the same situation Jordan permitted in the fifth inning. No one stirred in the Nationals bullpen.

Chase Utley tapped one to first base. Adam LaRoche threw to second for the double-play attempt. The ball glanced Rollins' right arm, nicked shortstop Ian Desmond's glove, and trickled into left field. Revere scored, Rollins stopped at third.

Michael Young smashed a middle-in fastball to the gap in right-center. Two insurance runs scampered home. The hook came, albeit a batter too late.

Washington, worst in the majors against lefthanded pitching, had inserted Scott Hairston at the top of its lineup. Hairston, a noted Phillies killer, entered Tuesday 12 for 30 with five doubles and five homers in his career against Hamels. The Nationals had traded for him Monday.

Hairston reached base on an infield single in the eighth to incite chaos. It fell to Werth, Washington's $126 million outfielder, against Hamels, the Phillies' $144 million lefthanded pitcher. The two made their names and money in this ballpark.

"He's seen me a ton," Hamels said. "I've seen him a ton. It's a serious guessing game and chess match we have between us."

Hamels jumped ahead, 0-2. Werth fouled a fastball. He took the next three. He swung at the seventh one.

"I knew," Hamels said. "It was way too high."

Contact Matt Gelb at Follow on Twitter @magelb.

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