PHILADELPHIA — A bad start ruined another solid outing by Mike Minor.
The lefty allowed three runs in the first inning and the Atlanta Braves couldn’t do anything against Cole Hamels in a 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.
Hamels threw a five-hitter for his fifth career shutout and Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer to help the Phillies snap a seven-game losing streak against the Braves.
“I thought Minor was terrific,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He gave us an opportunity to win. We just couldn’t score any runs.”
Minor (6-8) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings. It was the sixth straight start in which he gave up three runs or less.
“I didn’t start off too well,” he said. “I still gave us a chance to come back.”
Hamels (12-6) struck out six and didn’t walk a batter to record his 11th career complete game and his first win in three tries since signing a $144 million, six-year contract July 25. The All-Star left-hander is 4-5 since going 8-1 the first two months of the season.
The wild card-leading Braves had won eight of 10.
Hamels last threw a regular-season shutout on Sept. 1, 2009 against San Francisco. He tossed a five-hitter against Cincinnati to complete Philadelphia’s three-game sweep in the 2010 NLDS.
“Give Cole a three-run cushion and it’s awful tough,” Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. “He’s tough enough anyway. When he gets that far in front, it makes it tough on the offense.”
The Phillies jumped on Minor in the first.
Jimmy Rollins led off with a double down the left-field line. Domonic Brown then lined a double to left-center, hustling his way to second and sliding headfirst to reach safely because the ball was dropped.
After Chase Utley lined out, Howard drove an opposite-field shot out to left-center to make it 3-0.
“The pitch to Howard was a hanging slider,” Minor said.
That’s all Hamels needed. He dominated the Braves by mixing a sharp fastball with his trademark changeup. Hamels didn’t allow a runner to second and faced two batters over the minimum.
While Atlanta is chasing Washington in the division race, the five-time defending NL East champion Phillies are going nowhere. They’ve already lost as many games (60) as all of last year when they set a franchise record with 102 wins.
The Braves, who entered three games behind the Nationals in the division, hadn’t lost to the Phillies since May 3 at Turner Field.
Notes: Braves 2B Dan Uggla, batting .136 in the last 51 games, wasn’t in the lineup because he’s 8 for 55 against Hamels. ... Minor has allowed 23 homers, tied with former Phillies RHP Joe Blanton for most in the NL. ... The Braves were shutout for the sixth time this season. ... This was only the second complete game for the Phillies this season. Their starters had 18 in 2011. ... Atlanta’s Tim Hudson (11-4, 3.45) faces Kyle Kendrick (4-9, 4.45) in the series finale Wednesday night.
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