Howard, Rollins give Hamels enough help
By Rob Maaddi
PHILADELPHIA ó Cole Hamels expects to face the Boston Red Sox again this season with more at stake. If so, he left quite an impression.
Ryan Howard homered twice and Jimmy Rollins also connected to back another strong outing by Hamels, helping the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Red Sox 8-2 Monday night in an interleague matchup of division leaders.
Hamels (7-4) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings. Since consecutive poor outings last month, the left-hander has a 1.50 ERA in his last three starts.
iI believe weíre destined to play each other in the World Series,î Hamels said. iWe can compete with them any day of the week.î
Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Drew hit consecutive homers for Boston, which has won twice as many World Series titles in the last four years as the Phillies have in the franchiseís 126-year history.
Red Sox starter Bartolo Colon (4-2) gave up four runs and six hits in four innings before leaving with back stiffness.
iI think I did it on a swing,î Colon said through a translator. iWeíll find out more tomorrow, but I think Iíll make my next start.î
Howard had his second multihomer game in four nights and finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs. Howard, who has struggled most of the season, now is tied for second in the NL with 19 homers and heís in a three-way tie with teammate Chase Utley and Adrian Gonzalez for first in RBIs with 62. The 2006 NL MVP is batting just .224.
iIím just up there trying to be as relaxed as possible,î Howard said. iWhatever the numbers are, it doesnít matter as long as we get the win.î
The Phillies teed off against Colon in the first inning. Rollins hit his 28th career leadoff homer into the second deck in right field for a 1-0 lead. Shane Victorino followed with a double off the wall in right-center.
After Utley struck out, Howard lined an opposite-field shot into the left-field seats to make it 3-0. Howard hit another opposite-field drive to left-center for a 4-0 lead in the third.
iItís being able to see the ball deep in the zone,î Howard said, explaining his power to left field.
Pedroia and Drew went deep in the fifth to cut the deficit to 4-2. But the Phillies scored four runs off reliever Mike Timlin in the sixth to increase their cushion.
Rollins had a two-run single and scored on Utleyís fielderís choice grounder. Howard ripped a triple to right-center off Jacoby Ellsburyís glove to make it 8-2.
Hamels improved to 6-1 following a loss this season.
iHeís not the type of guy you want to fall behind,î Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. iHeís terrific.î
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