Hamels lasts five innings with stiff shoulder in loss

Nats starter Livan Hernandez was great, holding the Phils to an unearned run in 6 2/3 innings pitched. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Whatever the deal was, Cole Hamels was not on his best stuff tonight.

The left-hander struggled through five innings as the Nationals got to the Phils, winning 4-2. It was only the Phils’ second loss in their last 14 games and only the second loss during the month of August.

Hamels lasted only five innings, allowing six hits, four walks while striking out five. Hamels allowed three runs and could have easily allowed more but he was able to get out of a 5th inning, bases-loaded jam with only one run allowed in that inning.

Hamels’ fastball barely topped out at 90 MPH as he averaged only 88.6 MPH according to Todd Zolecki on Twitter earlier. His season average is 91.4 MPH. Hamels just looked exhausted. Charlie Manuel said after the game that Hamels’ shoulder was stiff and had a hard time getting loose.

When asked if Manuel was concerned, “Yes there’s concern but at the same time, he was just having a tough night. I’m sure (the trainers) would check it out… I think it was just the fact that he was having a tough time finding his fastball and he topped out at 90… He didn’t say too much at all about it to me.”

But Hamels didn’t express any concern, tweeted Ryan Lawrence. He just said it was a dead arm period that a lot of pitchers go through at some point in season.

“I wasn’t able to get loosened up.. just kind of that part of the year,” Hamels said. “You fatigue a little bit and you just have to battle through it.”

The Phillies also looked way off key. After 20 straight games, the last 10 being played on the road, they had a day off yesterday and it just carried over to today. The team was flat all night, managing only six hits all night.

Nats starter Livan Hernandez kept the Phillies on their heels, allowing an unearned run on four hits and a walk with three strike outs through 6 2/3 innings of work. He also had a nice night at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a couple RBIs.

Ryan Howard had a two-hit day for the Phillies. But in the at-bat that mattered the most, he came up drastically short. With runners on first and third with no outs in the bottom of the 9th with the Phils trailing 4-1, Howard struck out on a horrible breaking ball by Nats closer Drew Storen, swinging way ahead of the pitch in a spot where the Phils needed a base hit.

Storen got Hunter Pence to hit a one-out sacrifice fly to score Shane Victorino and then got Raul Ibanez on a first-pitch pop-up to end the game for his 31st save on the season.

WP: L. Hernandez (7-11). LP: Hamels (13-7). S: Storen (31).

Boxscore.

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