Hamels sharp as Phillies beat Pirates

March 8, 2012 5:56:49 PM PST
Cole Hamels appears to be in regular-season form.

Hamels threw four-hit ball into the fourth inning for the Philadelphia Phillies in a 5-4, 10-inning win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

"My changeup is going really well," Hamels said. "It's my main pitch. It's the reason why I'm here. It's always been a pitch I can go to in any count. I've always had enough confidence in it that it's always moving and at the right speed. But unfortunately I can't throw it every pitch and I have to improve the other three."

The 28-year-old left-hander struck out two and walked none.

Phillies outfielder Luis Montanez hit a game-ending homer off Pittsburgh right-hander Michael Dubee leading off the 10th inning.

Hamels, who can be a free agent for the first time in his career at the end of the season, repeated a mantra he made at the start of spring training: He is not going to put a demand on getting a new deal complete before opening day.

"I'm not the type of guy that needs to put parameters and barriers," Hamels said. "It's a situation where I think I'm more focused on being able to go out and pitch. I think that's what I know the team wants me to do. Our ultimate goal is to win a World Series, not play for a contract."

Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Ty Wigginton also helped the Phillies offense.

With one on and one out in the fifth inning, Victorino drilled a two-run home run over the right field fence. The home run was the first for Victorino this spring.

Pence went 2 for 3 and scored the game's first run on Wigginton's double in the second inning. Wigginton, making his first start at second base, also walked twice.

The Pirates rallied from a 4-0 deficit with a three-run sixth inning. Josh Harrison, Casey McGehee and Rod Barajas had three consecutive hits off Philadelphia right-hander Dave Bush.

In the seventh, Pittsburgh center fielder Starling Marte led off with a home run to tie the game. The home run was the second this spring for Marte and it also gave him a hit in eight consecutive at-bats.

Marte's run ended in the 10th inning, when he flew out to left field. Marte is 9 for 12 at the this spring.

"I was aware (of the streak), but I wasn't thinking about it," Marte said through an interpreter. "I just tried to connect and put the ball in play."

In his second start, Pittsburgh right-hander James McDonald allowed one run on two hits in three innings.

"It's getting better," McDonald said. "I'm starting to feel a better rhythm."

Like Hamels, McDonald was working on his changeup Wednesday afternoon. The 27-year-old McDonald said he didn't have a great changeup throughout the 2011 season.

"There were flashes of it here and there," McDonald said. "So I told myself I really wanted to work on that this spring, to be able to throw it whenever and against whoever I want. Righties, lefties, it shouldn't matter. That was a pitch that was real big for me coming up through the minors. It was something I could fall back on."

NOTES: Philadelphia outfielder Domonic Brown was out of the lineup for the third straight game with a sprained right thumb. Brown, who had a thumb injury last May, was scheduled to have an MRI on Thursday afternoon. . Phillies LHP Dontrelle Willis was originally scheduled to make his next appearance on Sunday but he might not take the mound. Philadelphia assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said the Phils will "back off" from using Willis in the next few days as the pitcher deals with soreness and fatigue. Willis has given up five runs in two games (1 2-3 innings) this spring. . Phillies RHP Jose Contreras will throw to hitters on Friday in a batting practice session. Contreras, who had elbow surgery before the end of the 2011 season, has not pitched in a game yet this spring. ... Pittsburgh assigned RHP Gerrit Cole to minor league camp. Cole was the top overall draft pick in 2011. . Pirates RHP Daniel Cabrera (forearm tightness) threw a 15-pitch batting practice Thursday morning. Cabrera is scheduled to pitch one inning in a "B'' game Saturday against the Minnesota Twins.