SEATTLE -- This is not unfamiliar territory for Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, which perhaps is why he handles these low-scoring losses so well.
Or he just knows he lives to pitch another day.
"I get to go out in five days," he said following Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. "I feel like I did my job the best I could. I just try to take everything in stride and look toward the next game. That's all I can really ask for. This wasn't the World Series. If this were the World Series, yeah, I think people scream because they want to win every game. But I get to pitch in five or six days."
Hamels, who will pitch again on Saturday against the Oakland A's at Citizens Bank Park, has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, and he continued to pitch like one against Seattle. He allowed seven hits and two runs and struck out six in 6 1/3 innings with both runs scoring on bloop singles to left field.
It seems like Hamels has lost more than his share of low-scoring games. In fact, Sunday's loss was his first on the road since Aug. 13 last season against the New York Mets at Citi Field, where he lost 1-0.
Hamels' foil Sunday? Left-hander Jason Vargas.
Vargas pitched arguably the best game of his career, throwing his second career shutout while allowing a career-low three hits.
"Their guy was good evidently," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
A reporter asked Manuel if he was pleased with his team's approach against Vargas. Manuel offered an are-you-kidding-me smile.
"What's that?" Manuel said.
The reporter repeated the question.
"Come again?" he said.
He repeated the question again.
"How many runs did we score?" Manuel said.
"How many hits did we get?"
"I'm not very pleased with it," he said.
The Phillies picked up hits in the first, fourth and ninth innings as the Phillies hit nearly no balls hard the entire afternoon.
Not like the Mariners hit many balls hard against Hamels. The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning when Ichiro Suzuki chopped a ball over Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard's head for a one-out single.
The ball took a wicked hop at the last second.
"It was bad," Howard said. "I was kind of going back because I saw the first hop. Once it hit again it just kind of shot up and I wasn't able to handle it."
Suzuki advanced to second on a fielder's choice and scored when Justin Smoak hit a 1-0 cutter for a bloop single into left field. Dustin Ackley tripled to lead off the seventh inning and scored to make it 2-0 when pinch-hitter Adam Kennedy hit another bloop single to left.
"That's the difference between being lucky and not being lucky," Hamels said. "I feel like I'm making good pitches and I'm battling all the way. That's the one thing I take from it. Their pitcher did really well, so that makes it tough when he's throwing a shutout. You can't give up a run."
"We were lucky to get two across today," Smoak said.
Hamels, who is 9-2 with a 2.04 ERA in his last 14 starts, struck out Miguel Olivo in the fourth inning for his sixth strikeout of the game and 1,000th of his career to become the third-fastest active pitcher to reach 1,000 strikeouts with five years, 38 days in the big leagues. Only Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum (four years, 31 days) and Mariners ace Felix Hernandez (five years, 21 days) reached 1,000 faster.
The Phillies lost two of three to the Mariners after entering Safeco Field with a seven-game winning streak. The last time the Phillies played here in 2005 they had won 12 of 13 before dropping two of three.
Seattle seems like a long way to fly for a couple losses.
"I've gone farther," Manuel said.
The Phillies boarded a flight for St. Louis on Sunday. The have Monday off before opening a three-game series on Tuesday against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.