SAN DIEGO (AP) – Manager Charlie Manuel won’t even try to explain why the Philadelphia Phillies have won 13 straight games at Petco Park, the longest winning streak at any ballpark in club history and the longest active streak for any visiting club at any particular park.
“Baseball’s a weird game,” Manuel said after Juan Pierre hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh inning to back Cole Hamels in the Phillies’ 4-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Friday night.
OK, so Hamels will give it a shot.
“How many seasons is that?” Hamels asked. “Since ’08? Well, we’ve had some pretty good pitching staffs since then and I think you just find a way. I know we’re a home run hitting team, but unfortunately when we get here, we get the base hits and drive in the runs and get the walks. I think we’ve just been able to do really well. Hopefully, this is the type of momentum that we can really use at the start of the season and obviously on this road trip.”
The Padres haven’t beaten the Phillies in San Diego since Aug. 16, 2008. Overall, the Phillies are 24-4 at Petco Park since it opened in 2004.
Hamels (2-1) improved to 7-2 with a 2.22 ERA in 12 career starts against his hometown Padres. In his last four starts against San Diego, he’s 4-0 with a 0.60 ERA.
Hamels was called for two balks for the first time in his career, but the Padres weren’t able to capitalize.
In the second, after rookie Andy Parrino was forced at third on Edinson Volquez’s bunt, Hamels’ balk moved Orlando Hudson to third and Volquez to second with two outs. Hamels then hit Chris Denorfia with a pitch before striking out Cameron Maybin.
In the fourth, Yonder Alonso singled and Hamels was called for another balk, by second base umpire Bob Davidson. Hamels, who appeared to have stepped off the rubber, angrily yelled at Davidson. Alonso took third on Hudson’s single but was thrown out at the plate when Hamels flipped Volquez’s bunt with his glove to catcher Brian Schneider.
“You’ve just got to take it for what it is and keep pitching,” Hamels said.
After allowing a run in the fifth, Hamels was assured of the victory thanks to a three-run rally in the seventh. Hamels allowed one run and six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked one.
“It’s nice playing in a big ballpark,” Hamels said. “It was one of those days where I wasn’t able to really locate with too many pitches. But you just keep battling. Fortunately for the ballpark, you can get away with throwing some pitches down the middle and try to let them put it in play and obviously use your whole team behind you. I was fortunate to get away with a lot of bad pitches.”
Said San Diego’s Chase Headley: “He was great. He threw the ball plenty well enough to win.
“I thought we threw a lot of good at-bats against him,” Headley said. “We attacked him. We put ourselves in good positions. To be honest, more than anything, I think he did a good of job of making pitches when he needed to. It was unfortunate we couldn’t score some runs.”
San Diego’s 12 losses, the most in the majors, are tied for the most through the club’s first 15 games in franchise history. The Padres also had 12 losses through 15 games in 1974, 1987 and 1994.
Volquez held Philadelphia to two hits through six scoreless innings before allowing three straight singles to open the seventh and load the bases. Andrew Cashner relieved Volquez (0-2) and allowed Schneider’s RBI single to right bring in Shane Victorino with the tying run. With one out, Pierre singled to right to score Ty Wigginton and Freddy Galvis.
Victorino hit a solo home run in the eighth, his second. Victorino was hit by a pitch on the left elbow earlier in the at-bat, but umpire Dan Bellino ruled that he leaned into the pitch.
Jonathan Paplebon pitched the ninth for his fifth save in five chances.
Victorino’s homer was off Australian left-hander Josh Spence.
Maybin tripled to the gap in right-center leading off the fifth. The Padres had stranded seven runners to that point, but after Headley struck out, Maybin scored on Jesus Guzman’s grounder to shortstop.
Volquez allowed three runs and five hits in six innings, struck out five and walked three.
NOTES: Hamels’ two balks were the most by a Phillies pitcher since Paul Quantrill also had two balks on July 15, 1995, at Montreal. … Hamels had three career balks coming into the game, all from last season. … Rookie Andy Parrino started in place of SS Jason Bartlett. … The four-game series continues Saturday night when Roy Halladay (3-0, 1.17) is scheduled to start for Philadelphia against Padres LHP Cory Luebke (1-1, 3.71).
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)