10/01/08 6:04 PM ET
Phillies Short Hops: Game 1
Hamels, Utley come through for Phillies against Brewers
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
Determined to avoid a repeat of last year's Division Series sweep, the Phillies rode Cole Hamels to a most decisive Game 1 win.
Brewers outfielder Mike Cameron appeared to glove Chase Utley's two-run double in the third inning, before stumbling backward as the ball popped out. Instead of coming away with no runs in the inning, the Phillies plated three, completely altering the game's course. Big number
14 -- Hamels retired 14 straight Brewers before allowing Corey Hart's two-out single in the fifth. Game balls
Ensuring that the Phillies wouldn't experience the same sour October taste that they did last season, Hamels came out firing darts against the Brewers. With a sharp fastball and a devastating changeup, Hamels almost singlehandedly won Wednesday's game.
His double off Cameron's glove was the game's most significant offensive play, but perhaps Utley's greatest contributions came in the field. Making a diving stop of Hart's ball up the middle in the second inning, Utley also saved a hit by making a charging play on Tony Gwynn's bunt attempt in the eighth.
Besides calling a sparkling game behind the plate at a most critical time, Ruiz singled and scored in the third inning to spark the winning rally.
Sense of October
Phillies fans came out to Citizens Bank Park in expected force, frantically waving white rally towels every time Hamels put two strikes on a batter. Even gray skies and the threat of thunderstorms didn't stop an announced crowd of 45,929 from showing up to the year's first postseason game, most of them sticking around until after the final out.
4 AB, 1 H, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R
Comment: The way Hamels was pitching, the Phillies didn't need much more offensive help than Utley gave them with his drive in the third.
8 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 9 Ks
Comment: Dominant from start to finish, Hamels gave the Brewers virtually no chance to steal a Game 1 win.
"Just watching him was a lot of fun. He was in complete command." -- Brad Lidge, on Hamels
Game 2 won't be easy against Brewers starter CC Sabathia, but the Phillies knew that much going in. That's why it was so critical for Hamels to win Game 1 -- and he did it with a flair that even the Phillies couldn't have entirely expected.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.