Hamels, Pence lead Phillies past Brewers, 7-2
MILWAUKEE For only the second time in nearly seven years, the Philadelphia Phillies played a game without three of their biggest stars — Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins.
It didn't matter.
Cole Hamels pitched a four-hitter and Hunter Pence's triple keyed a six-run sixth inning as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-2 on Thursday night.
"It starts with Cole Hamels, I can tell you that," Pence said. "A complete game with two runs. Anytime that happens it gives you a great chance to win."
Hamels (14-7) gave up solo home runs to Yuniesky Betancourt and Corey Hart, but kept Milwaukee from mounting any big innings in a game between the two best teams in the National League. The left-hander pitched his third complete game of the year, walking two and striking out two.
"Just staying in that top echelon of guys," Hamels said of his goals for this season. "I want to be in that sort of category. That's what I strive for every year."
The Phillies managed only one hit off Chris Narveson (10-7) in the first 5 2-3 innings, but then broke through for six runs by getting seven consecutive batters on base to chase the Milwaukee starter in the sixth. Philadelphia had 11 of its 12 hits in the final 3 1-3 innings to win its fourth straight.
"It's hard to figure out with him," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said of Narveson. "He's had so many games where he's pitched really well and he's breezing through.
"Like today, his first five innings were outstanding," he said.
It was just the second time since Sept. 12, 2004 that Howard, Utley and Rollins all missed a game. The only other time was Oct. 4, 2009, when the trio rested in a meaningless game after the Phillies had clinched a playoff berth.
"A lot of times when you put your reserves players in there, they are wanting to play and be a part of it," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. " They want to show they can earn the right to be on our team and show you they can contribute."
Even without the three stars, each of the eight position players in the starting lineup had at least one hit. John Mayberry Jr., Wilson Valdez and Ben Francisco each had two hits for the Phillies.
"It definitely can bring your team together," he said. "Actually, that's what happens a lot of times. The game tonight was good in that respect. Guys that hadn't played for awhile winning the game. I guarantee you they feel good about themselves."
Pence also had a run-scoring double in the ninth and finished with three RBIs. It was his first game at Miller Park since July 29, when Houston manager Brad Mills removed him in the fifth inning and told him he had been traded to the Phillies.
"We have a lot of guys who can swing here, all the way up and down," Pence said.
Utley likely will miss the series after suffering a concussion Wednesday night. Rollins was reinstated off the disabled list before the game, but did not play and Howard was given a night off to rest.
For the first half of the game, Narveson was on cruise control, not allowing a hit until Mayberry hit a bloop single to right-field in the fifth. With the Brewers leading 1-0, the left-hander struck out Michael Martinez and Hamels to open the fifth but then fell apart and didn't retire another batter.
After Hamels struck out, Shane Victorino doubled off the top of the wall in the left-field corner on the first pitch, and Wilson Valdez followed with a double to center to tie the score at 1-all.
Placido Polanco walked and Pence hit a line drive bouncing to the center-field wall, scoring both runners for a 3-1 lead.
Mayberry then reached on an infield single, driving in Pence for a 4-1 lead. Replays showed Mayberry was out on a close play, but first base umpire Angel Hernandez called him safe.
Mayberry promptly stole second base and scored on Carlos Ruiz's double. Ben Francisco then singled to score Ruiz for a 6-1 lead, chasing Narveson.
Narveson finished allowing six runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out two.
Betancourt snapped a 7-for-45 slump with his 11th homer to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Hart's 24th home run brought Milwaukee within 6-2 in the sixth.
Pence's double in the ninth made it 7-2.
NOTES: Pence's three RBI gave him 400 for his career. . Hamels has 11 wins in September since 2008, the most of any NL pitcher. . Milwaukee CF Nyjer Morgan did not start one night after being ejected in St. Louis. Morgan entered the game in a double-switch in the sixth, and usually does not start against left-handed pitchers. . Victorino's sixth-inning double off the top of the wall was reviewed by the umpires, who took 65 seconds to watch a replay and confirm it was a double and not a home run. . Milwaukee 2B Rickie Weeks was reinstated from the DL before the game but did not play. . Brewers RHP Shawn Marcum will face the Phillies RHP Roy Halladay in game two of the four-game series Friday night. Marcum is only 2-2 in his last five starts, but has a 1.04 ERA in that span. Halladay is 2-1 in his last five starts with a 2.16 ERA in that period.