comscore Nationals can't hit Hamels | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Nationals can’t hit Hamels

    Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels shut out Washington for eight innings on Wednesday.

PHILADELPHIA » Cole Hamels didn’t hit any Washington batters this time, and the Nationals hitters barely touched Hamels.

Hamels pitched eight scoreless innings, finishing up by retiring Bryce Harper on a grounder as the Philadelphia Phillies snapped a season-long four-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 4-1 victory over Washington.

Hamels (7-1) didn’t allow a hit until Danny Espinosa doubled with one out in the sixth. The left-hander won his seventh straight decision, allowing four hits and striking out eight.

Hamels faced Washington for the first time since intentionally hitting the 19-year-old Harper on May 6. The incident sparked a firestorm, with Hamels earning a five-game suspension and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo getting fined for his critical comments of Hamels.

"First and foremost, I’m happy about stopping the skid we’ve had," Hamels said. "I felt confident in my stuff."

Harper singled in the sixth. The Phillies led 3-0 in the eighth when Harper grounded out with a runner on third to end the inning.

"We just couldn’t get anything going off Hamels," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "You have to tip your hat to him. He’s tough. He’s done that to a lot of people."

St. Anthony product Shane Victorino homered, doubled and drove in two runs. Adam LaRoche homered with one out in the ninth off Jonathan Papelbon. LaRoche snapped an 0-for-19 skid.

The Phillies’ victory ended Washington’s franchise-record six-game winning streak in Philadelphia. The Phils have won just two of their last 11 games overall against the Nationals, with Hamels’ victory at Washington on May 6 the other one.

"It was a very good game," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I liked the way we played. I was trying to get us loose. I was trying to do some things to loosen things up. You shouldn’t be tight on our team. We’ll let you play."

Despite the Nationals’ recent dominance of the five-time defending NL East champion Phillies, Manuel has confidence in his club.

"Both of us have real good starting pitching," he said. "I think it’s close. I think we got ’em, though.

"Tonight’s win was big for us. We’re going to win some more. We ain’t going nowhere."

Catcher Carlos Ruiz doubled and singled twice while batting cleanup for the first time in his major league career.

Ruiz got a bruise after taking a hard foul ball hit by Espinosa off the right wrist in the eighth inning. X-rays were negative and Ruiz is day to day.

Edwin Jackson (1-2) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings.

Mike Fontenot hit an RBI single with two outs in the second, and Victorino’s two-out double in the third drove in Hunter Pence.

After Espinosa doubled in the sixth, Harper followed with a single to right field. But Pence made a strong throw home and Ruiz made a good tag after a difficult hop in front of the plate for the out.

"That’s where defense really saved us," Hamels said. "You don’t want the opposing team to get the momentum. That was a really big play."

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