Little Ben clocks one to no avail

Posted: May 29, 2014

It was shortly after 11 p.m., in the final third of a game delayed by nearly 90 minutes at the outset by rain, when a young boy seated in the Hall of Fame Club level tried with all of his might to be the last voice of hope and optimism at Citizens Bank Park.

“It’s not over,” he chanted. He chanted the same refrain a few more times.

The Phillies were trailing by three runs at the time and still had two innings left to take their swings, so, technically, the kid was right. But he didn’t have a whole heck of a lot of support, as only a few thousand (at most) remained of the announced attendance of 23,159, the second-smallest crowd of the season.

An inning earlier, in the sixth, the stadium was so quiet that when Wilin Rosario ripped a two-out, three-run home run off Cole Hamels, everyone could hear the visiting dugout explode in celebration.

Rosario’s home run snapped a tie and led the Colorado Rockies to a 6-2 over the Phillies on a lifeless night at the 10-year-old South Philly ballpark.

“It was just a poorly executed pitch,” Hamels said of the game-changing three-run home run. “He’s an aggressive hitter, and I know he’s swinging. You have to be able to get and make that pitch.”

Even a home run from Ben Revere - rarer than a no-hitter - couldn’t awaken the ballpark or its regular inhabitants, the Phillies. After Rosario’s three-run blast put Colorado in front, 4-1, Revere got a run back when he smoked a 1-1 fastball from Boone Logan over the fence in right.

It was the first major league home run for Revere. It came in his 1,566th career plate appearance.

“It's about time - it's good to get that monkey off my back,” Revere said. “When I got to second base, I didn't know what to do.”

Before last night, Revere hadn’t hit a home run in nearly 3 years: he hit a solo home run on May 30, 2011, at Rochester against the Toledo Mudhens.

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg acknowledged he didn't think he'd ever see Revere homer in a major league game.

"No," Sandberg said. "[But] he hits them all the time in batting practice."

Revere’s home run will surely be celebrated on the team’s end-of-the-year video highlight reel. But last night, it was just a brief respite from another forgettable game from the Phillies (22-27).

Although an offense that has been close to nonexistent at home this month was limited to a pair of solo home runs - Revere and Darin Ruf, who also hit his first of 2014 - it was difficult not to pin this loss on the left arm of Hamels.

Pitted against a Rockies offense that led baseball in runs, batting and OPS entering the night, Hamels retired nine straight to begin his seven start of the season. He sent down 19 of the first 21 batters he faced, limiting Colorado to a pair of singles.

But after Cesar Hernandez made a strong play at third to help Hamels record the first out of the seventh, Hamels fell behind Corey Dickerson 3-0 and ended up walking him. After not walking a batter in the first six innings, Hamels walked the next batter, Michael Cuddyer, too.

“Uncharacteristic,” Sandberg said of the back-to-back walks.

“They’re balls,” Hamels said. “I was just trying to make pitches and be down in the zone, trying to get guys to swing. But they are pretty patient and a pretty good team. … They did their job pretty well and got on base.”

When Justin Morneau followed with a flyout to center, Hamels was one out away from making the walks meaningless and taking a 1-1 game into the bottom of the seventh. But then Rosario jumped on a first-pitch fastball and ripped it over the fence in right for his fifth home run of the season.

"[Hamels] was down in the zone, with quality pitches [in the inning], but their guy jumped on a first-pitch quality fastball,” Sandberg said. “Rosario is a free swinger."

Hamels was superb over six innings, but his seventh was the difference on the final score. He fell to 1-3 with a 4.43 ERA this season.

Hamels owns the highest ERA in the Phillies’ current rotation. The Phillies have won only one of the seven games he’s started this season.

Since signing a 6-year, $144 million contract extension in July 2012, Hamels is 15-18 with a 3.47 ERA in 52 starts. The Phillies are 23-29 in those games.

The Phillies offense blew a chance to provide Hamels with run support early.

After Carlos Ruiz and Cesar Hernandez singled to begin the third inning, Hamels followed with a perfectly placed bunt for a base hit to load the bases with the top of the lineup up. But for the second time in 5 nights, the Phils managed to blow a bases-loaded, no-out situation.

Revere grounded into a fielder’s choice, with the Rockies cutting the lead runner at home, Jimmy Rollins lined out to first and Chase Utley flew out to left.

“That was a big momentum swing for [Colorado], getting out of that,” Sandberg said.


On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese.

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