Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies will try for their sixth straight victory at Citi Field and ninth win in 10 games overall against the Mets on Sunday.
The Phillies (11-14) continued their recent dominance in this series Saturday as Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. hit consecutive home runs in the fifth inning en route to a 9-4 victory.
Philadelphia has finally come through with some timely hitting this weekend. After scoring three or fewer runs in 11 of their previous 14 games, the Phillies have totaled 13 in the past two victories."That's definitely good. It's what we've been waiting for. We've got to make it more often," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We haven't been hitting in those right situations to knock those runs in, and today we did."
Following a three-game skid, Manuel's club looks for its third straight win behind Hamels (0-3, 5.40), who has started to show signs of returning to form.
Since allowing 13 runs over 10 2-3 innings in his first two starts, the left-hander has posted a 2.57 ERA in his last three with 19 strikeouts in 21 innings. He surrendered two runs and struck out six with one walk over eight innings of a 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday."Just being able to really get in a groove and go deep in the ballgame was something I was pleased with," said Hamels, who has received three runs of support over his last three starts.
Hamels is 5-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 21 starts against the Mets, but went 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four outings against them last season. He'll be facing a New York team that's managed 17 runs and batted .186 over its last six games.
After scoring three times in five innings off rookie Jonathan Pettibone on Saturday, the Mets (10-12) have totaled 23 runs in their last nine against the Phillies.
David Wright , who went 2 for 4 with an RBI on Saturday, is batting .327 with four home runs and three doubles in his career against Hamels.
Catcher John Buck hit his eighth home run Saturday, but he's 2 for 22 with eight strikeouts versus Hamels.
The Mets, looking to snap a three-game skid, will send Jonathon Niese (2-1, 3.81) to the mound. The left-hander will make his first start since departing after 2 1-3 innings when he was hit by a ball on his right leg against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
Niese has posted a 3.38 ERA while winning five of his last six decisions. He's gone 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA in his past four home starts against the Phillies.
Michael Young has six hits in his last eight at-bats in this series, giving him a .439 average with five homers and 12 RBIs in 14 career meetings with the Mets.
Ryan Howard knocked in two runs Saturday and has 21 RBIs in his last 12 games in this series. He's batting .343 during a nine-game hitting streak, but is 1 for 15 with seven strikeouts against Niese.
Philadelphia has outscored New York 29-5 in the last three matchups at Citi Field.
|April 18, 2013||John Lannan||15-Day DL||Strained left quadriceps tendon|
|March 22, 2013||Delmon Young||15-Day DL||Recovery from right ankle surgery|
|New York Mets|
|April 23, 2013||Jonathon Niese||Day-to-Day||Lower right leg contusion|
|March 22, 2013||Jenrry Mejia||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Neck strain|
|March 22, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Neck strain|
|March 22, 2013||Johan Santana||60-Day DL||Left shoulder surgery - out for season|
|March 22, 2013||Frank Francisco||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Ryan Howard took half the day off and still ended up tormenting the Mets.
Howard snapped a seventh-inning tie with a pinch-hit double, Cole Hamels earned his first win of the season and the Philadelphia Phillies took advantage of a crucial error to beat New York 5-1 on Sunday and finish a three-game sweep.
Rested by manager Charlie Manuel in the midst of a hitting tear, Howard got his chance anyway and drove a two-run double off the center-field fence to give Philadelphia a 3-1 lead. The big slugger has 23 RBIs in his last 13 games against the Mets, including seven in this series.
"It's not really an off day. You just don't start," Howard said. "Mentally you do things to keep yourself loose."
All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz went 1 for 4 with a double in his return to the Phillies from a 25-game amphetamine suspension. Even on the road, the popular Ruiz was greeted warmly with a chorus of "Choooooch," and one fan held a sign welcoming him back.
Freddy Galvis homered, Chase Utley had an RBI single and Hamels (1-3) overcame six walks, which matched his career high. The left-hander held the Mets to two hits and struck out eight over six innings in his fourth consecutive solid outing.
The 2008 World Series MVP was so frustrated with his command that he screamed into his glove in the fourth, when he walked the bases loaded before striking out pitcher Jonathon Niese to end the inning.
"I was able to get away with it. But it's not the best type of game for me," Hamels said. "I would much rather have liked to go deeper in the ballgame."
Working with his regular batterymate for the first time this season, Hamels helped Philadelphia to its first series sweep since last September - also at Citi Field. The Phillies have won nine of 10 against the rival Mets since Aug. 30.
New York, which went 3-6 on a homestand against the Nationals, Dodgers and Phillies, has lost a season-high four straight and nine of 12 overall.
Niese (2-2) allowed one earned run in 6 2-3 innings, showing no ill effects from the comebacker that hit him near the right ankle and knocked him out of his previous start Tuesday.
The left-hander was lifted after 117 pitches, and once again Philadelphia immediately jumped all over an awful Mets bullpen that entered the day ranked next-to-last in the majors with a 5.28 ERA.
Hamels was pulled for pinch-hitter Laynce Nix with two outs in the seventh and appeared headed for a no-decision when Nix hit a twisting popup in foul territory. The ball came down near the Phillies dugout, but catcher John Buck was never able to settle under it. He tried to make a basket catch and the ball popped out of his mitt for an error.
"I should have had it," Buck said. "Just missed it."
Nix and Jimmy Rollins followed with sharp singles, chasing Niese. Mets manager Terry Collins called on right-hander Scott Atchison , so Phillies counterpart Charlie Manuel brought Howard off the bench.
He tagged a 2-0 pitch and watched it fly at first, thinking it was gone.
"I knew they were going to put Howard in, but Scott Atchison 's breaking ball is really difficult to hit, I don't care who it is," Collins said. "His issue is he fell behind and tried to sneak a fastball by him. Didn't get it in, didn't make the pitch."
Utley followed with his run-scoring single, and John Mayberry Jr. added an RBI double in the eighth off Brandon Lyon .
"We were out of the inning. We didn't make the play," Collins said. "At our level, you give good teams extra outs, they're going to do some damage."
Antonio Bastardo , Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon finished the three-hitter.
Ruben Tejada hit a leadoff double in the first against Hamels and scored on David Wright 's single.
Galvis reached down and golfed a low curveball over the left-field fence in the fifth for his second home run of the season.
"We knew we were kind of due for a series like this, and we'll try to keep it going," Nix said.
NOTES: Major League Baseball posted on Twitter that umpire Brian O'Nora left the series opener Friday night because of a serious medical condition. MLB said he doesn't use tobacco products, contrary to several reports. ... Howard, riding a 10-game hitting streak, has 10 RBIs in his last five games after driving in six runs over his first 19 games. Despite that, he was rested ahead of the team's off day Monday to give him an extra breather. Kevin Frandsen started at first base and made a nice play to end the first inning. ... Hamels improved to 6-10 in 22 games against the Mets. ... Wright bobbled Ruiz's easy grounder in the first, ending a 77-game errorless streak that was the longest by a Mets third baseman. It also had been the longest active run for any third baseman in the majors. New York finished with a season-high three errors, one by Niese. ... To create roster room for Ruiz, the Phillies designated backup catcher Humberto Quintero for assignment. ... Slumping Phillies CF Ben Revere was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game while resting a sore quadriceps.