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Hamels Rebounds as Phillies Beat Braves 3-0

As expected, the boo-ridden first start of Cole Hamels was forgotten as quickly as it came. In his second start of the season, Cole pitched 7 shutout innings of 4-hit ball with 8 strikeouts and 1 walk. He had Atlanta hitters waving at his changeup all day, looking completely comfortable in the Georgia heat. It’ll take some more good outings to bring his ERA back to normalcy, but this one is a great start. Cole’s now 10-5 for his career against the Braves — the most wins he has against any team.

Shane Victorino continued swinging a hot bat, getting three hits off Derek Lowe on the day including his first home run of the season. Shane came into the game with just two hits in 24 at-bats off Lowe for his career. That’s the fifth straight multi-hit game for Shane, which is a remarkable task in itself, but when you consider that there was speculation about an impending DL stint after injuring his calf, it makes it that more impressive. His average is up to .417 on the young season. Not bad for the leadoff spot, a place that had been a weakness for these Phillies in recent years.

Yesterday’s hero, Carlos Ruiz, also added a pair of hits to pull his average to .346. Chooch, Polanco, Shane, Jimmy, Ryan, Francisco, and Valdez are all batting over .300 nine games in. That is some serious hitting from a lineup that’s missing a number of key contributors from last year. They only struck out three times this game. Even three runs for Hamels is a distinct improvement for a lineup that got him run support of 0 or 1 in seven games last year.

Cole led the Phils to a series win, the third out of three this season, and their 7th win in 9 tries. With the Marlins down a bunch to Houston, it looks like the Fightins will take an early 2-game lead in the NL East. They’ll travel to Washington for a three-game set starting on Tuesday and we’ll get our first look at Jayson Werth in a Nats jersey.