Cole Hamels expects to face the Boston Red Sox again this season with more at stake. If so, he left quite an impression.
Ryan Howard homered twice and Jimmy Rollins also connected to back another strong outing by Hamels, helping the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Red Sox 8-2 Monday night in Philadelphia in an interleague matchup of division leaders.
Hamels (7-4) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings. Since consecutive poor outings last month, the left-hander has a 1.50 ERA in his last three starts.
"I believe we're destined to play each other in the World Series," Hamels said. "We can compete with them any day of the week."
Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Drew hit consecutive homers for Boston, which has won twice as many World Series titles in the last four years as the Phillies have in the franchise's 126-year history.
Red Sox starter Bartolo Colon (4-2) gave up four runs and six hits in four innings before leaving with back stiffness.
"I think I did it on a swing," Colon said through a translator. "We'll find out more tomorrow, but I think I'll make my next start."
Howard had his second multihomer game in four nights and finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs. Howard, who has struggled most of the season, now is tied for second in the NL with 19 homers and he's in a three-way tie with teammate Chase Utley and Adrian Gonzalez for first in RBIs with 62. The 2006 NL MVP is batting just .224.
"I'm just up there trying to be as relaxed as possible," Howard said. "Whatever the numbers are, it doesn't matter as long as we get the win."
The Phillies teed off against Colon in the first inning. Rollins hit his 28th career leadoff homer into the second deck in right field for a 1-0 lead. Shane Victorino followed with a double off the wall in right-center.
After Utley struck out, Howard lined an opposite-field shot into the left-field seats to make it 3-0. Howard hit another opposite-field drive to left-center for a 4-0 lead in the third.
"It's being able to see the ball deep in the zone," Howard said, explaining his power to left field.
Pedroia and Drew went deep in the fifth to cut the deficit to 4-2. But the Phillies scored four runs off reliever Mike Timlin in the sixth to increase their cushion.
Rollins had a two-run single and scored on Utley's fielder's choice grounder. Howard ripped a triple to right-center off Jacoby Ellsbury's glove to make it 8-2.
Hamels improved to 6-1 following a loss this season.
"He's not the type of guy you want to fall behind," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He's terrific."
MARLINS 6, MARINERS 1: At Seattle, Andrew Miller limited Seattle to one run and six hits over seven innings. Just hours after Seattle fired Bill Bavasi, in his fifth season as general manager, the punchless Mariners went out and lost their eighth straight at home, their longest home losing streak in nearly 12 years. They are 22 games under .500 (24-46).
GIANTS 8, TIGERS 6: At San Francisco, John Bowker hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth inning to spoil Fernando Rodney's season debut, and the San Francisco Giants won their first interleague game in seven tries this year. Marcus Thames homered twice and drove in three runs for the Tigers, who had their season-best six-game winning streak snapped. Bowker hit a 1-2 pitch into the seats in the right-field arcade, the first batter faced by Rodney after he relieved Freddy Dolsi (0-2) with two runners aboard.The Tigers activated Rodney from the disabled list earlier in the day after the setup man had missed the entire season with shoulder problems.
METS 9, ANGELS 6: At Anaheim, Calif., Carlos Beltran homered his first two times up as a DH this season, Mike Pelfrey won for the first time in 11 starts. After the Angels closed to 4-3, the Mets tacked on four runs on four hits and an error in the seventh inning to knock out Anaheim starter Jered Weaver.
BRAVES 7, ROCKIES 1: At Denver, Chipper Jones hit a two-run single in the fifth to break a scoreless tie, Jair Jurrjens pitched into the eighth inning without allowing a run and Atlanta beat Colorado in a National League game. The contest was a makeup from a game that was snowed out on April 10. Jones, mired in a 2-for-15 slump entering the game, finished 2-for-4 with a walk, raising his average a point to .403. Jeff Francoeur had a two-run double in the seventh and Brandon Jones added a two-run single in the ninth. Jurrjens (7-3) leads major league rookies in wins. He struck out seven and allowed eight hits in a career-high 7 2-3 innings. Ubaldo Jimenez (1-7) tied a career high with five walks over five innings. He allowed three runs two earned and struck out seven. Jimenez hasn't won in 13 starts since April 8 against Atlanta.