After missing out on a prime opportunity to improve their postseason chances, the Arizona Diamondbacks won't have any time to feel sorry for themselves as they prepare to face one of the hottest pitchers in baseball.
The Diamondbacks (65-61) entered their crucial four-game series with Cincinnati trailing the Reds by five games for the NL's second wild-card spot. They lost three times, though, including a 2-1 defeat Thursday, to fall seven back.
The Diamondbacks allowed the eventual winning run in the eighth on one of their four wild pitches."It's very frustrating. Not a happy series. Disappointing," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We thought we had a good chance to win. They scored both of their runs (because of) wild pitches. It's tough to swallow."
Facing Hamels (5-13, 3.61 ERA) may not be any more pleasant. He's been stellar over his last four starts, pitching at least seven innings in each while going 1-0 with a 1.45 ERA.
Hamels has improved his overall ERA nearly one full run since the beginning of July while giving up fewer than three runs in eight of nine outings during that stretch.
"I guess (the numbers are) getting back to normal," said Hamels, who is tied for the most losses in the NL while ranking near the bottom of the majors with a 3.30 run-support average. "You can't be satisfied with what's gone on in the past. You have to keep preparing for the next game."
The left-hander gave up two runs and walked five in six innings of a 2-1 loss to Arizona on May 9, which marked the opener of a four-game set these clubs wound up splitting.
Wade Miley didn't face Philadelphia in that series, but he struck out seven and allowed two hits in six scoreless innings to beat the Phillies on April 23, 2012, in his only start against them.
Miley (9-8, 3.56), like Hamels, began his current hot stretch in July. He is 5-1 with a 2.04 ERA over his last nine starts after allowing two runs and striking out eight in eight innings of Sunday's 4-2, 16-inning win over Pittsburgh.
"He has really simplified things," Gibson said. "He got in a spot earlier (in the season) where he was overthinking and he couldn't control the ball. Now he's just throwing the ball where he wants to more."
The left-hander looks to stay hot against a Philadelphia team that has won four of five after a dramatic 5-4 win over Colorado on Thursday.
The Phillies (57-70) trailed by three heading to the bottom of the eighth before Darin Ruf hit a two-run homer. In the ninth, Jimmy Rollins started a two-out rally with a double, stole third and scored on Michael Young 's infield single.
Young scored the winning run on Domonic Brown 's single."We're just out there having lots of fun, feeding off the energy we have in the clubhouse," Brown said. "We're trying to make a statement going into next year."
Carlos Ruiz had three hits and is 10 for 16 (.625) in his last five for Philadelphia, which has won 11 of the last 13 home matchups with Arizona.
|August 12, 2013||Cody Ross||15-Day DL||Dislocated right hip|
|August 11, 2013||Cody Ross||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right hip|
|August 10, 2013||Eric Chavez||15-Day DL||Hip and knee injuries|
|July 29, 2013||Miguel Montero||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|July 26, 2013||Aaron Hill||Day-to-Day||Hamstring tightness|
|July 09, 2013||Eric Chavez||Day-to-Day||Stiff right hip|
|August 17, 2013||Michael Young||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore left ankle|
|August 15, 2013||John Lannan||15-Day DL||Left knee tendinitis|
|August 14, 2013||John Lannan||Day-to-Day||Knee|
|July 29, 2013||Jonathan Pettibone||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|July 26, 2013||Cliff Lee||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|July 24, 2013||Domonic Brown||7-Day DL||Concussion|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The music is blasting and the Philadelphia Phillies are having fun again. There's plenty to celebrate these days.
Chase Utley walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting Philadelphia to a 4-3 comeback victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.
It was the fifth win in six games for the Phillies, who have won four of those contests in their last at-bat, including the last three.
"Anytime you have walk-off (wins), it creates excitement and right now it's carrying over to the next day," Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said.
The music blared in the Philadelphia clubhouse following the game - something that hasn't been the case for most of this disappointing season.
"We're playing together and having fun in here, being able to go out on the field believing in each other," Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels said. "We're taking that direction and have to keep pushing in that direction as long as we possibly can."
Cody Asche led off the ninth with a single and went to third on Jimmy Rollins ' single. Heath Bell (4-2) intentionally walked Michael Young to load the bases for Kevin Frandsen . After striking out Frandsen, Bell was lifted for left-hander Eury De La Rosa.
De La Rosa ran the count to 3-2 and Utley walked when the final pitch appeared to be a bit inside.
"We were trying to work both sides of the plate," Diamondbacks catcher Tuffy Gosewisch said. "The last pitch started out, then came in and barely missed."
Darin Ruf homered for the second straight game for Philadelphia, which improved to 5-3 under Sandberg. Ruf has eight homers and 12 RBIs in 21 games this month.
Matt Davidson had two hits and an RBI for the Diamondbacks, who have dropped four of five, damaging their fleeting playoff hopes. They stayed seven games back of the Reds for the second NL wild-card spot.
"They just got it done in the ninth," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.
Jonathan Papelbon (4-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.
The Phillies jumped to a 1-0 lead on Ruf's two-out homer in the second. The Diamondbacks answered with three runs in the fourth off hard-luck Hamels.
Paul Goldschmidt was credited with a double after left fielder Domonic Brown lost his routine fly ball in the lights as twilight fell. Martin Prado drove in Goldschmidt and Adam Eaton with a two-run double, and Davidson's RBI single put Arizona ahead 3-1.
"We got a big break on the ball lost in the lights, but we couldn't tack on," Gibson said.
That was it for the Diamondbacks against Hamels, who allowed six hits and walked one in seven innings. The left-hander has a 1.89 ERA in his last five starts but just one win and four no-decisions over that stretch.
Hamels, who entered with the fifth-lowest run support average among starters in the majors (3.30), remained 5-13 on the season.
"Ultimately, you don't want it to come down to the last at-bat, but winning is winning," Hamels said. "I'm glad we're able to battle and stay with it. It's a good feeling to have something going the right way."
The Phillies tied it when Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run double off Wade Miley in the sixth. That was the last inning for Miley, who yielded five hits and two walks.
The Phillies threatened in the eighth against Bell, putting runners on first and second with two outs. But Bell struck out John Mayberry Jr. swinging to end the inning.
The Diamondbacks got a runner to second with two outs in the ninth off Papelbon, but Cliff Pennington flew out to center to end the threat.
NOTES: Arizona's J.J. Putz dislocated his pinky finger in the seventh inning trying to field Rollins' grounder to shortstop. Putz will be placed on the disabled list on Saturday. . Ruiz went 2 for 4, raising his average to .600 (12 for 20) in his last six games. . The three-game series resumes Saturday night when Phillies RHP Ethan Martin (2-2, 5.23 ERA) opposes RHP Randall Delgado (4-4, 3.82 ERA). ... The Phillies wore maroon and white pinstriped uniforms similar to what the club wore in the 1990s on `90s night. ... Frandsen snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a sixth-inning single.