LOS ANGELES (AP) — Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg liked what he saw from Cole Hamels in his long-awaited season debut. A better job by the bullpen would have helped, along with a few more runs against Zack Greinke.
Greinke outpitched Hamels with seven strong innings, Hanley Ramirez homered and Yasiel Puig drove in two runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 5-2 victory over the Phillies on Wednesday night.
Hamels took the loss in his season debut, after missing the first three weeks because of biceps tendinitis. The 30-year-old left-hander threw 86 pitches, allowing two runs and six hits over six innings with five strikes and a walk.
"It was good to see Cole out there and great to see the way that he threw the ball with the quality that he had and the stuff that he had," Sandberg said. "He was outstanding for the first outing of the year — 86 pitches and two runs. He did his job right there. He gave us a chance to win."
Hamels made 30 or more starts in each of the previous six seasons, so starting the season this late was an adjustment for him.
"That's in the past. I don't really think about last year or last week. I just keep going forward and try to get healthy," Hamels said. "... I knew what I was going into. It was just a matter of preparing myself just like I normally have and getting ready in a spring training-type setting. It was just a couple of weeks later than everybody else."
Puig struck out his first two times up, but lined an RBI single to right in the fifth to put the Dodgers ahead 2-1 after Hamels gave up a two-out single by Drew Butera and walked Greinke.
"You can never walk the pitcher. I understand Greinke is a very good hitter, but at the same time, you have to let him hit his way on," Hamels said. "That right there was the ballgame. It decided everything in terms of what transpired in the next inning and it racked up my pitch count right there."
Juan Uribe's sacrifice fly gave Los Angeles 1-0 lead in the second, after Matt Kemp led off with the first of his two doubles. Ryan Howard tied it in the fourth with an RBI single after a leadoff double by Jimmy Rollins.
Greinke (4-0) had nine strikeouts through the first five innings, including five in a row after Howard's hit. He also doubled with two outs in the seventh and scored on Puig's triple off the right field fence.
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