Hamels throws 3-hitter against Reds

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 6, 2008

The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The MVP got benched and Junior got another standing ovation from notoriously tough fans.

Oh, by the way, Cole Hamels was outstanding.

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Hamels pitched a three-hitter for his second career shutout — in a span of three weeks — and the Philadelphia Phillies took advantage of two dropped balls to beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 Thursday.

Ken Griffey Jr. remained one shy of 600 home runs, going 1-for-4 in his first start in four games. He hit a double off the wall in left-center, grounded out twice and hit a deep drive to center field leading off the ninth.

“Growing up, I was a really big fan of his and I saw the numerous home runs,” Hamels said. “If I would’ve given it up, I would’ve been on a long list with a lot of people. I wouldn’t have minded, even though it would’ve broken up the shutout.”

A sellout crowd gave Griffey a standing ovation as he headed back to the dugout after his long out. The 13-time All-Star outfielder tipped his hat and waved to the Philadelphia fans, who’ve had a long history of boorish behavior. They’ve also cheered other opposing stars over the years.

“It was awesome,” Griffey said. “I can’t thank everybody enough.”

All the talk after the game was about Jimmy Rollins. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel yanked the reigning NL MVP after he failed to run hard on a popup that was dropped.

“He’s the manager and that’s what he had to do,” Rollins said. “He has two rules: Be on time and hustle. I broke one today. It’s my fault. I can’t be mad at him.”

Manuel didn’t want to discuss the situation.

“Jimmy and I took care of that,” he said. “That’s a done issue.”

Griffey dropped a ball in right field that directly led to a pair of unearned runs against Homer Bailey (0-1). Griffey wasn’t in the lineup the previous three games because of general soreness, including a bothersome left knee. He walked as a pinch hitter the last two games.

Geoff Jenkins hit a solo shot for the NL East-leading Phillies, who won for the ninth time in 11 games.

Hamels (6-4) struck out four and walked three, rebounding from consecutive poor starts. The left-hander tossed a four-hitter against Atlanta on May 15 for his first major league shutout.

Phillies shortstop Eric Bruntlett saved this shutout, making a diving stop and strong throw to first to retire Jay Bruce with two outs and a runner on second in the eighth.

Mixing a sharp fastball with his deceptive changeup, Hamels kept hitters off balance all day. He pitched out of his only jam in the second, retiring Bailey on a popup to leave the bases loaded.

“That’s the Cole Hamels I remember,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He had a real good fastball and a real good changeup.”

Bailey didn’t get much defensive support in his first start of the season. The former first-round pick allowed five runs — two earned — and four hits in 6 1-3 innings.

Griffey now takes his pursuit of No. 600 to Miami. The Reds have a four-game series against the Florida Marlins before returning to Cincinnati for a nine-game homestand.

The only other players to hit 600 homers are Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa.

Griffey hit No. 599 against Atlanta on Saturday, but missed a chance to reach the milestone in front of his hometown fans.

The Phillies took a 1-0 lead when shortstop Paul Janish dropped Rollins’ shallow popup to left for an error with two outs in the third, allowing Carlos Ruiz to score from second base. Rollins would’ve been standing on second base if he ran it out.

Janish made a sliding catch on a popup near the foul line in shallow left on the next hitter, Shane Victorino.

With two outs and two runners on in the fifth, Bruntlett hit a liner to right. Griffey charged, then ducked and covered his head and dropped the ball for an error, allowing a run to score. Griffey lost the ball in the lights on an overcast afternoon.

“I was trying to move away, not get hit in the lip,” Griffey said.

Victorino followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0. Jenkins drove one into the right-center seats for a 4-0 lead in the sixth. Ryan Howard’s two-out RBI single in the seventh made it 5-0.

Hamels allowed 13 runs in 9 2-3 innings in his previous two starts after a 19-inning scoreless streak. He lowered his ERA to 3.36.

“The last two starts, I didn’t feel like myself because I wasn’t helping the team,” Hamels said.

Bailey’s performance was an encouraging sign for the Reds. After going 4-2 with a 5.76 ERA in nine starts last season, Bailey had every opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation in spring training. But he struggled with his control and was sent down.

“It’s tough losing games like that,” Bailey said. “I just went after them. A couple of tough plays for the defense, but it happens.”

Notes: The Reds sent LHP Danny Herrera to Triple-A Louisville to make room for Bailey. … The Phillies are 9-10 in day games, 27-16 at night. … Bruce was 0-for-4 for the second straight game. His average dropped to .432 after his first 10 games. … Cincinnati is 2-7-1 in its last 10 road series. … The Phillies are 5-1-1 in their last seven series.