ATLANTA — The Phillies have started to win again, but Cole Hamels cautions this still isn’t the kind of team that can “steamroll” opponents the way they have in recent seasons.
Hamels predicts more close games ahead for Philadelphia, just like Tuesday night when John Mayberry Jr. doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as the Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2.
The Phillies (12-12), the five-time defending NL East champions, have won five of seven to return to .500 after finishing April at 11-12 for their first losing record in a full month since going 11-15 in June 2009.
“I still think we have a lot of work to do,” said Hamels, who gave up two runs in six innings, leaving with the game tied at 2.
“We just have to keep battling. Things aren’t going to come easy. Sometimes we have months in the past where things just seemed like they were easy because it seemed like we could just steamroll through a team. It’s not going to be that case anymore.”
The Phillies are starting a stretch of nine consecutive games against NL East rivals.
“This is where we can make up our ground,” Hamels said.
After Brandon Beachy gave up only two runs in seven innings to outlast Hamels, the Phillies broke a 2-2 tie with two runs against left-hander Jonny Venters (2-1).
Mayberry, in the game as a pinch hitter, doubled to right with one out, moved to third on Jimmy Rollins’ single and scored on Venters’ wild pitch to Placido Polanco. Shane Victorino added an infield hit and Hunter Pence singled to right, driving in Rollins for a 4-2 lead.
“Brandon pitched his butt off,” Venters said. “For me to give it away like that is unacceptable.”