Cole Hamels shuts out Reds as Phillies complete sweep

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Yes, Game 2 was in their hands and they lost it, but with the results from Games 1 and 3, it doesn’t seem like the Reds ever really had a chance to win this series.
The Phillies got their second dominant pitching performance in three games, this one from Cole Hamels, in beating Cincinnati 2-0 on Sunday night and completing an NLDS sweep.
Hamels went the distance in this one, something he never did while putting together his dominant five-start run in the 2008 postseason. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel eschewed closer Brad Lidge in the ninth, even after Brandon Phillips singled to lead off the inning, and Hamels was able to finish it up in 119 pitches. He allowed five hits, walked none and struck out nine.
A two-out double from Ramon Hernandez in the seventh was the Reds’ lone extra-base hit. Once again, regular-season stars Joey Votto and Scott Rolen failed to get anything going. As the tying run, Votto grounded into a double play in the ninth to finish the series 1-for-10. Rolen was 1-for-11. Jonny Gomes, who didn’t play in Game 2, went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts.
The only Reds hitters to produce in the series were Phillips (4-for-12, 1 HR) and Jay Bruce (2-for-8, 1 HR, 2 BB).
With the easy victory, the Phillies will be well set up to take on either the Giants or Braves in a series starting next weekend. They’ll even have the option of setting up Roy Halladay to start Games 1, 4 and 7 if they’d like.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.