In recent years, Cole Hamels was a strong candidate to end a losing streak for the Philadelphia Phillies.
This season has been a different story for Hamels, who draws the start Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Even though Hamels is coming off a win, his season has been a disaster to the tune of a 2-9 record and 4.56 earned run average in 13 starts.
Hamels was bailed out by a late offensive surge in last Wednesday's 6-1 win over the Miami Marlins and the left-hander hurled seven innings of one-run ball with a season-high 11 strikeouts and one walk. The Phillies were able to reach the .500 mark at the time.
"I think getting back to .500 is key just to start over," Hamels said. "Winning series, if you're able to do that in the ultimate long run you're going to have a winning record and you're going to be near the top of your division. We accomplished a good goal."
The 2008 World Series MVP had lost six straight starts and won for the first time since April 28 against the New York Mets. Hamels, who is just 1-4 in six road outings and has lacked run support, has made two career starts against Minnesota, going 1-0 with a 6.23 ERA.
Philadelphia had won five in a row until losing the last three tests of a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. In Sunday's 9-1 setback, young starter Jonathan Pettibone was dealt the loss for allowing six runs -- four earned -- and four hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Humberto Quintero homered and Michael Young collected a pair of hits for the Phillies, who opened a 10-game trek in Brew City and fell to 15-18 on the road. Domonic Brown was 0-for-3 on Sunday, but is still batting .383 with 11 homers and 22 RBI in his last 16 games.
The Phillies will also visit Colorado for three games on the trek.
Phillies outfielder Ben Revere will make a return to the Twin Cities after he landed in the City of Brotherly Love during the offseason in a deal that sent pitcher Vance Worley to the Twins. Revere played his first three seasons in the majors with the Twins and has been a disappointment this season, batting .244 with six RBI and 20 runs scored. He has two hits over the last six games.
Minnesota has lost two straight and four of five games, and went 2-4 on a recent road trip. The Twins lost two of three against the Washington Nationals, including Sunday's doubleheader in D.C.
Scott Diamond lost on the road for the first time this season in the first game, a 7-0 win by the Nationals. Diamond wasn't sharp and allowed seven runs -- six earned -- and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings. Chris Parmelee had two of Minnesota's three hits in that one.
The Twins suffered a 5-4 setback in the second game, as Pedro Florimon homered and Chris Herrmann finished with three hits and two RBI. Minnesota blew a 4-1 lead and starter Samuel Deduno did not record a decision, allowing three runs, two of which were earned, in five innings. Anthony Swarzak was dealt the loss.
"We had a lead and we ended up giving it up," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was a very frustrating game for us."
Gardenhire's club is back at Target Field to start a nine-game homestand versus Philadelphia, Detroit and the Chicago White Sox, and has dropped four of the previous five contests there.
P.J. Walters gets the nod for the Twins Tuesday and he is 2-1 with a 3.00 earned run average in three appearances -- all starts -- this season. Walters won his first two outings against the Tigers and Brewers, but was handed the loss in last Wednesday's 4-1 setback at Kansas City. He only gave up three unearned runs in six innings, but it was enough to warrant a loss.
Walters, a right-hander, lost his only career start against the Phillies last June 13, when he gave up four runs and four hits in a 9-8 home loss. Walters never recorded an out that day and left with shoulder pain.
Minnesota lost two of three meetings with Philadelphia last season.