Cole Hamels used his change-up to beat the Dodgers, 2-0, Wednesday night. He struck out nine in eight scoreless innings. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
The cut fastball has become the hottest pitch talked about in the majors as of late.
Roy Hallday, one of the masters of that pitch, brought it to Philly where almost the entire staff has made it a top weapon. Cole Hamels is one of those pitchers.
But his weapon of choice wasn’t the cutter. Instead, it was his best weapon he’s harnessed throughout his career: the change-up.
Hamels made hitters miss badly with his change-up, shutting out the Dodgers for eight innings in the rubber match as the Phils went on to win, 2-0.
Hamels scattered six hits and struck out nine through eight scoreless innings. Ryan Madson allowed a hit for his 14th save on the season.
For the first four innings, deja vu was striking the Phillies. Hiroki Kuroda had a no-hitter through the first 3 1/3 before Placido Polanco broke it up in the 4th. In his last start against the Phils, he took a no-no into the 8th inning last season.
The Phillies finally struck first in the 6th. With one out, Ryan Howard hit a solo homer off Kuroda. After a Raul Ibanez double followed Howard’s solo shot, Kuroda was lifted with 93 pitches.
Kuroda pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing a run on four hits and three walks while striking out seven.
The Phils added one more run in the 8th when Domonic Brown drove in a run on a fielder’s choice.
The Phillies were once again held to a low number of hits with five. But Howard’s blast proved to be enough for the Phils, as they kept pace in the NL East with a three-game lead on Atlanta and five on the Marlins.
Of the Phillies five hits, four of them were extra base hits. Michael Martinez hit his first career triple in the 5th innings. Shane Victorino also tripled.
Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp each had two hits for the Dodgers.
2B: Ibanez (12). 3B: Martinez (1), Victorino (6). HR: Howard (13).
WP: Hamels (8-2). LP: Kuroda (5-7). S: Madson (14).