August 19 2014, 4:00PM EDT.
PHILADELPHIA - On a day that originally looked to be highlighted by two of baseball's hottest starters, it was the Phillies bullpen that dominated on Wednesday afternoon.
Ken Giles and Jake Diekman combined for seven strikeouts over three innings in relief in a 4-3 victory for the Phillies over the Mariners at Citizens Bank Park. Johnathan Papelbon tossed a scoreless ninth to secure the win and notch his 30th save of the season.
"It's just nice to know that if you can't go deep into the ballgame you have the guys out there that can get the job done," said starter Cole Hamels. "They're growing out there and it's great to see."
Hamels entered Wednesday having tossed eight consecutive quality starts, but the Mariners offense chased him after five innings, collecting three runs on nine hits to snap his streak.
"Those guys are pretty good hitters," Hamels said. "When I was able to locate well I was getting foul balls or check swings, but when I left the balls up that's when they would hammer them. That was the case for quite a few of their guys and the situations I was in - the pitches just needed to be located better."
Tied 1-1 through the first three innings, the Mariners jumped ahead in the fourth. Phillies third baseman Cody Asche made a diving stop to his left on a hard hit bouncer by Chris Denorfia, but then made an errant throw from his knees to second allowing Kyle Seager, who reached earlier in the inning on a walk, to move around to third base. Logan Morrison then followed with an RBI-double to left before eventually crossing the plate himself on a wild pitch to give the Mariners a 3-1 lead.
The Phillies, however, answered back in the bottom of the frame with Wil Nieves hitting a lead-off single and Andres Blanco following with a liner up the middle that Mariners starter James Paxton deflected and threw over Kendrys Morales' head at first base. A passed ball eventually allowed Nieves to score and Ben Revere and Chase Utley each chipped in with RBIs via a groundout and single respectively to give the Phillies a 4-3 advantage.
Paxton, who had entered the contest having won six of his first nine major league starts, lasted just four innings for the Mariners, surrendering four runs on seven hits - though only one run was earned.
"It was a struggle today for Cole and today he wasn't quite himself," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. "He was up in the zone, but he battled through and the bullpen was outstanding with the four zeroes they put up out there."
The Phillies bullpen has posted a 1.91 ERA over their last 15 games, led by Papelbon who has made 11 consecutive scoreless appearances. Giles isn't far behind, having now tossed eight consecutive scoreless appearances himself.
"Having the bullpen come in and put up the type of numbers they did, they're great pitchers out there and certainly developing into to top caliber guys," Hamels said. "You have to like what you see out there."
"We just try and help each other out," Giles said. "Our goal is to pick each other up and we did just that today."
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