The Philadelphia Phillies head into the All-Star Break on a high. With Sunday’s 1-0 victory over the formerly red-hot Reds, the Phils complete a four-game sweep and find themselves within striking distance of the Braves in the N.L. East. Cole Hamels didn’t get much run support on the night but then again, he didn’t need any.
The lone run would have to hold up, and thanks to Hamels, it did. The lefty didn’t fill up the strikeout column Sunday—in part because of the coin-flip strike zone artistically created by home plate ump Todd Tichenor—but mixed his pitches well and kept his composure throughout. He did perhaps his best work escaping a bases-loaded, no out jam in the fourth, after a seeming strikeout of Scott Rolen was deemed a walk. Hamels induced Jonny Gomes to ground to third, where Cody Ransom threw home for a force-out, and then caught a soft line drive off the bat of Jay Bruce which he flipped to Jimmy Rollins at second to double off Joey Votto. It was one of three double plays Hamels got on a day when he worked about a half-dozen full counts and saw the Reds foul off about two dozen offerings.
Now, let’s not get too giddy here: excepting the 9th and 10th innings of Friday’s comeback thriller, the Phillies scored a total of seven runs in 39 innings against the Reds, including two in their last 19 in games started by rookie left-handers with profiles somewhat lower than, say, Stephen Strasburg’s. Still, a sweep is a sweep, and one of the four-game variety against a deep and talented Reds team provides a huge lift for the spirits as well as in the standings as the Phillies head into the all-star break.