The one silver lining in what is becoming a disastrous season for the Philadelphia Phillies has been left-hander Cole Hamels.
Tonight, Hamels tries to put the brakes on a personal two-game losing streak and deliver the Phillies their first win in five tries when they continue a three-game set with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Hamels lost his second straight start on Thursday to the Los Angeles Dodgers, as he allowed four runs (3 earned) and six hits in six innings, dropping him to 8-3 on the year, while raising his ERA to 2.93. He had given up five runs in his previous start and has surrendered 12 his last three times out.
"I hate to lose, and I've got two losses (in my past two starts)," Hamels said after blowing a three-run lead for the second straight start. "It's frustrating because you want to battle. We get the lead and we're giving it up. That's the frustrating part. You kind of see a win in one hand, and see it kind of evaporate."
Hamels, who did not get a decision in his only other start against the Twins, is a perfect 4-0 away from home this season and has pitched to a 2.50 ERA in his five road starts.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will counter with righty P.J. Walters, who is 2-1 with a 4.42 ERA. Walters did not get a decision on Friday against the Chicago Cubs, but did not pitch well, as he allowed five runs in five innings of an 8-7 win.
This will be his first-ever start against the Phillies.
Minnesota added to the Phillies' misery in Tuesday's opener, as Trevor Plouffe remained scorching hot, smacking three hits, including a two-run homer, to go with three RBI and three runs scored in the Twins' 11-7 victory.
Plouffe is batting .417 (15-for-36) with five homers, four doubles, 12 RBI and 10 runs scored in nine games this month for Minnesota, which tallied 17 hits and improved to 15-9 over its last 24 contests.
Denard Span and Josh Willingham added solo shots while Nick Blackburn (3-4) surrendered four runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings.
"You have to have your whole lineup contributing and that's what we're getting right now, our whole lineup," Willingham said.
Jimmy Rollins went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, two RBI and a run scored while Michael Martinez added three hits, an RBI and two runs scored for the Phillies, who have lost nine of their last 10.
Kyle Kendrick (2-6) allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks over four frames.
"It was a hitters night and we couldn't stop them," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "They stayed after us."
Minnesota took two of three from the Phillies the last time these teams met back in 2010. However, Philadelphia claimed a series win in its last visit to Minnesota back in 2004.