If Cole Hamels is one of the pitchers the St. Louis Cardinals are interested in acquiring now that Adam Wainwright is out for the season, they must have liked what they saw Monday.
Hamels limited the Cardinals to one run on four hits in seven innings to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-1 victory before an announced crowd of 40,052. The left-hander walked four (one intentional) and struck out nine to post his first win over St. Louis since July 14, 2007.
Three of the Cardinals’ hits against Hamels (1-2) came in the third inning when they took a 1-0 lead on Matt Holliday’s RBI single. Philadelphia finally got to John Lackey (1-1) with a three-run outburst in the seventh that proved to be the difference.
“We had (Hamels) on the ropes,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, bemoaning a third inning that could have been much different. “His pitch count was up. He was working hard. We were probably one hit away from getting some serious action going in (Philadelphia’s) pen.”
Before the game, St. Louis General Manager John Mozeliak confirmed the news that many suspected regarding Wainwright. The two-time 20-game winner ruptured his left Achilles’ tendon in the fifth inning Saturday in Milwaukee. He will undergo surgery Thursday, then begin a nine- to- 12-month rehabilitation.
Mozeliak hopes the Cardinals can cover Wainwright’s starts with internal options, but Hamels would represent a much more viable solution. But it’s not clear whether Mozeliak will meet Philadelphia’s demands, which are understandably high for its three-time All-Star.
Hamels was vulnerable in the third, even after the Cardinals had two outs and nobody on base.
Jon Jay led off with a walk, but Lackey failed to lay down a sacrifice and Jay was then caught stealing with Matt Carpenter at the plate.
Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta and Holliday followed with consecutive singles, with Holliday’s hit getting the Cardinals on the board. Matt Adams then walked to load the bases for Mark Reynolds. But Reynolds, an offensive and defensive catalyst in the Cardinals’ series victory in Milwaukee over the weekend, grounded out to second to strand the runners.
“It usually comes back and gets you when you don’t do the little things right like getting the bunts down,” Matheny said. “In a close game, it makes a big difference.”
Lackey, who had pitched in American League until last year, said he is comfortable with a bat in his hands and should be able to move the runners along.
“For the most part, I’m pretty comfortable,” he said. “Obviously, tonight I didn’t get it down. He threw me a breaking ball, a changeup. (Hamels) kind of showed me a little bit of everything. It was nice pitching on his part”
Hamels retired 13 of of the final 15 hitters he faced and finished with a 114-pitch outing.
The Phillies rewarded him in the seventh. After being shut down on five singles through six innings, Philadelphia grabbed the lead on Ben Revere’s two-run double off the chalk in left field and added another run on Odubel Herrera’s single that scored Revere.
Hamels, unlike Lackey, was able to help himself when he executed a sacrifice that put Carlos Ruiz at third and Freddy Galvis at second ahead of Revere’s double.
“It wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t great,” Lackey said of the fastball Revere hit. “It is what it is.”
Ken Giles worked a flawless eighth for Philadelphia, which tacked on an eighth-inning run against Matt Belisle on Darin Ruf’s infield out.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his fifth save. He allowed a two-out double to Kolten Wong and hit Jay with a pitch, but rookie catcher Cody Stanley struck out as a pinch-hitter.
Lackey permitted three runs on nine hits in seven innings, with one walk and one strikeout. He expended just 82 pitches, 64 for strikes.
“John did a nice job,” Matheny said. “He was one pitch away from getting out of that (seventh). We would have liked to have given him more than one run. But they weren’t giving us a whole lot on the other side.”
Lackey said the team is hurting for Wainwright.
“You feel bad for Adam, for sure,” Lackety said. “Especially someone who has (already) been through a year-round rehab, that’s not a fun thing. It makes you kind of sick because you know what he has to go through, and he’s already done the Tommy John thing once. But he’s a competitor. He’ll fight back and be back with us.”
Right fielder Jason Heyward did not start the game
. Heyward injured his left hamstring Sunday in Milwaukee. Earlier reports said Heyward had injured his groin, but Heyward said Monday that was not the case.
“I don’t feel like it was much of an issue,” said Heyward, who injured the hamstring fielding a ball near the wall. “It was just a freak kind of play. I went to make a play and my body kind of went two ways at once, and my spikes got caught. That’s about it.”
Heyward was replaced in right field Monday by Mark Reynolds, who played left field for Matt Holliday on Sunday and made two strong defensive plays.
Jhonny Peralta, meanwhile, batted in Heyward’s customary No. 2 spot in the order. Heyward struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.