Friday, April 18, 2008

Santana outdeuls Hamels, Mets win 6-4

For seven innings, the Johan Santana/Cole Hamels showdown was the duel that everyone expected it to be. Heading into the top of the 8th, the Mets held a 2-1 lead over the Phils, but from there Hamels failed to keep up his end of the duel. He loaded the bases on a pair of hits and a walk, forcing the Phillies to turn to their bullpen, which was unable to hold down the Mets who scored 3 runs to stretch their lead to 5-1. Fortunately, the Phillies battled back as they finally got to Santana, getting a pair of hits in the bottom of the 8th that drove him out of the game. Greg Dobbs then stepped in and smashed a 3-run home run, but the Phils rally ended there. They ended up losing the game 6-4.

Santana was as good as advertised in this game, rapidly mowing down Phillie batters. He finished with 10 strikeouts in his 7 innings of work and only gave up 4 hits. Hamels looked good but not great most of the night, giving up 8 hits and striking out only 4 batters. David Wright had his number all night, picking up three hits against Hamels even though he had previously gone 1 for 11 in his career against the lefty.

The win moves the Mets into first place, and it also makes three wins in a row for the Mets against the Phillies. Santana proved tonight why the Mets doled out the big contract for him, dominating the Phillies usually potent line-up. This was about the best start he could have possibly asked for against the Mets biggest rival.

Jimmy Rollins may make his return tomorrow when the Phillies look to find some of the magic they had last season against the Mets. It's still early in the season, and the Phillies look better in April this year than they did last year, but they need to find some consistency. Having Rollins back would go a long way to gaining that stability.

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