Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Young outduels old as Phillies down Padres

(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
Greg Maddux, the 42 year old future Hall of Famer, was denied his 350th career victory by a pitcher who was two years old when Maddux started his major league career in 1986. Cole Hamels, now 24 years old, proved to be, at least on this night, a better pitcher than Maddux in leading the Phillies to a 7-4 win over the Padres.

Hamels went 7 1/3 innings on the night, scattering five hits, striking out six, and giving up only two runs. He coasted throughout most of the game, mixing his pitches well forcing the Padres into a number of 0-2 counts that they couldn't get themselves out of. Hamels gave up a home run, just like he always does, but he maintained his composure in a good bounce back effort after looking subpar in his last two starts.

Maddux, who has been stuck on 349 wins for three starts now, fared only slightly worse than Hamels, going 6 1/3 innings, giving up 8 hits and 3 earned runs. His most frustrating moment on the mound occurred when he nearly slammed his glove to the ground after giving up a hit to Hamels in the 7th inning.

Offensively for the Phillies, their big inning came in the bottom of the 8th as they clung to a 3-2 lead. Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz and Greg Dobbs all drove in insurance runs to give the Phils a big 5 run cushion for the ninth inning. The Phillies needed that cushion after Ryan Madson gave up a two run home run to Scott Hairston in the ninth inning, but the Padres ultimately came up short in their comeback attempt.

The Phillies look to finish off one of their best April's in recent memory tomorrow night when they face off with the Padres again. The Phillies will definitely finish April with a record above .500 and will certainly be at or near the top of the NL East when May begins. That's the best start the Phils could have hoped for given their injury issues and a penchant for starting slow.

Highlights of Cole Hamels' great start via Comcast SportsNet:

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