Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - In a battle of the top two teams in the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies came away with the win as a six-run sixth inning along with a complete game from Cole Hamels lifted them to a 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
This four-game series is potential playoff preview as both teams have comfortable leads in their divisions.
Thursday's contest saw the Phillies add to the best record in baseball as Hunter Pence's two-run triple was the highlight of the sixth inning and backed Hamels' third complete game of the season.
Hamels (14-7) gave up just four hits and two runs with a pair of walks and strikeouts as the Phillies won their fourth game in a row. It was his first win since August 6 as he had a stint on the DL with left shoulder inflammation and was winless in his previous three starts. He is now one win away from matching his career high set in 2007.
"When we scored the six runs that was a long wait," said Hamels. "I wanted to get back out there and I was kind of stiff when I did. I needed to get loose again and had some trouble getting ahead of the hitters. But I got more comfortable as the inning went on and was able to finish strong."
The victory reduced Philadelphia's magic number to 11 for clinching its fifth straight NL East crown.
Yuniesky Betancourt and Corey Hart each hit a solo home run for the Brewers, who have dropped three straight and saw their lead over St. Louis in the NL Central drop to eight games. Chris Narveson (10-7) was tagged for six runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings to take the loss.
"It's hard to figure out with him," said Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke. "There are so many games where he pitches really well. The first five innings he was sharp. Things just fell apart for him in the sixth when he had trouble finding his spots."
The offenses were slow to get started as the game remained scoreless till the fifth inning when Betancourt hit a pitch just over the wall in left-center to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead.
The Phils, though, answered in a big way in the sixth as the team batted around and then some to take control of the game.
After the first two batters struck out, Shane Victorino hit a double off the top of the wall in left. The play was reviewed to determine if it was a home run, but the initial call stood.
It mattered little, though, as that opened the floodgates with Wilson Valdez following with a double over the head of center fielder Carlos Gomez to tie the game. Placido Polanco then walked and Pence hit a shot to center field that Gomez misplayed. The ball rolled to the wall and Pence went to third with a two-run triple.
John Mayberry then hit a grounder deep in the hole between short and third that Betancourt fielded and made a leaping throw to first. The ball appeared to beat Mayberry to the bag, but he was ruled safe. Carlos Ruiz then hit a ground-rule double that scored Mayberry, who had stolen second, and Ben Francisco singled to bring home Ruiz for a 6-1 lead.
Tim Dillard then took over on the mound and Michael Martinez reached on a single, but Hamels struck out to end the inning.
Hart hit a solo home run in the sixth, his 24th homer of the season, to make it a 6-2 game.
After getting Milwaukee to strand runners on first and second in the seventh, Hamels set them down in order in the eighth inning.
Pence added a run in the ninth with an RBI double and Hamels had an easy 1-2-3 ninth to cap the game.
The Phillies have 17 complete games from their starters this season, most in the majors. Tampa Bay is the next closest in the majors with 14...Prior to the game, the Phillies activated shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the 15-day disabled list. He had been on the DL since August 21 with a right groin strain and did not appear in Thursday's game. Also, Chase Utley, who was hit in the helmet by a pitch in Wednesday's game against Atlanta, did not travel with the team and saw a concussion specialist...Milwaukee activated second baseman Rickie Weeks off the 15-day disabled list on Thursday. He had been on the DL since July 28 due to a severely sprained left ankle and did not appear in Thursday's game...It was the 636th victory for Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel in his time with the team and moved him into a tie for second place on the club's all-time list with Harry Wright.