Cincinnati, OH – Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Score four runs against Johnny Cueto and you've given yourself a chance against the majors' stingiest starter.
Do it with Cole Hamels on the mound against a team that's never beaten him and you've all but guaranteed yourself a win.
And boy did the Philadelphia Phillies need one of those.
Hamels sparkled in 7 2/3 innings, Jimmy Rollins homered and the Phillies put the stops on a season-high six-game slide with an 8-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a three-game series on Friday night.
The Phillies had six hits off Cueto (5-5) in five innings, his shortest outing of the season, and scored four runs against him after he entered the game as the MLB leader in ERA and among the leaders in innings pitched.
The win came on the heels of a brutal three-game sweep in Washington, where the Phillies scored just six runs against the top of the Nationals rotation and gave up 19.
Hamels (2-3) played stopper, striking out seven and giving up just five hits and two walks. The left-hander improved to 10-0 in 13 career starts against the Reds including the postseason -- all Phillies wins.
He had been winless in three starts since beating Cincinnati May 17 for his 100th career win and first of the season.
"This ballpark can be very dangerous because it's not very big, so mistakes will most likely be hit out of the ballpark," said Hamels. "So you just grind away and keep the ball in the bottom part of the zone and see what happens. I think that's what I was able to do."
Domonic Brown drove in three runs Friday and Chase Utley reached base in all three of his at-bats against Cueto.
The Reds have lost three in a row, scoring just three total runs, and are 1-3 on a 10-game homestand.
Utley's bloop single in the first inning was the only hit off Cueto until the fourth, when the Phillies scored three runs after Utley was hit by a pitch and then picked off first base for the second out.
Brown's sliced two-run double to left opened the scoring and he came home on John Mayberry's hit through the left side to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead.
Cincinnati's only baserunner through three innings came after Zack Cozart's bouncer ate up third baseman Reid Brignac leading off the third for a single.
Rollins teed off for a solo homer just over the wall and inside the right- field pole in the fifth inning to make it 4-0. Carlos Ruiz and Utley singled but were stranded on base.
The Phillies tacked on four runs in the ninth inning on Utley's bases-loaded sacrifice fly, a hot shot by Ryan Howard that first baseman Todd Frazier couldn't handle (which scored two) and Brown's sac fly.
Rollins hit his seventh home run of the season ... It was the third time in 13 starts this season that Cueto pitched fewer than seven innings ... The Phillies were 1-7 in Hamels' first eight starts this season ... The Phillies are 23-16 in 39 games against the Reds in Cincinnati since Great American Ball Park opened in 2003. Including the playoffs, they are 42-20 against the Reds since 2006, their best marks against any team in the majors.