PITTSBURGH — Cole Hamels insists that leading the major leagues in losses doesn’t bother him and he has been able to keep a positive attitude in the most difficult season of his eight-year career.
“I’ve played a lot of baseball and I’ve pitched in a lot of games, and I know I’m going to play a lot more baseball and pitch in a lot more games,” Hamels said. “I know that my record is just kind of blip on the radar and you have to be who you are.”
Hamels looked more like a former World Series MVP on Thursday as he pitched seven strong innings, Carlos Ruiz hit a tiebreaking single and the Phillies beat Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4 on Thursday.
Hamels (3-11) gave up one earned run and five hits, striking out eight without a walk. He won for the first time since June 5.
“It was being able to get back to what I know, which is establish the strike zone early then throw all my pitches,” Hamels said. “Ultimately, it was staying down in the zone. That’s where I’ve got hurt in the past, I get guys where I want them and not able to finish them off because I’m getting too many balls up in the zone.”
Cole (4-1) lost for the first time in the majors after becoming the first Pirates pitcher to win his first four career starts since Nick Maddox in 1907. Cole allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.
“I thought he pitched well,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s a 22-year-old young man. He’s still learning, continuing to grow. He’s fun to watch.”
Hamels received some rare support as the Phillies have scored just 22 runs in his 11 losses.
Ben Revere had three of the Phillies’ 13 hits and two RBIs. Ruiz, Jimmy Rollins and Delmon Young each had two hits.
“It’s not so much the raw number of hits you have but what you get them,” Young said. “We were playing the best team in baseball with the Pirates. Their pitching has been outstanding and their offense has been lagging but they’re winning because they hit in the clutch. That’s what we did today, and what we need to continue to do.”
Jonathan Papelbon worked a perfect ninth inning for his 17th save in 21 opportunities.
Ruiz’s two-run single came off Vin Mazzaro in the middle of a four-run sixth inning in which Cole was chased.
Ruiz, who sat out the first 25 games of the season after being suspended by Major League Baseball for testing positive for a banned stimulant, had driven in just four runs all year prior to Thursday.
Cole was removed after Ryan Howard walked with one out and Domonic Brown followed with a single.
Mazzaro, who had not allowed any of his 12 inherited runners to score this season, came on and gave up three straight singles. Young’s hit loaded the bases and Kevin Frandsen’s single tied it before Ruiz hit a liner to center to score Brown and Young and put Philadelphia ahead.
Revere capped the inning by driving in a run with a grounder.
“The Pirates have a really good bullpen but I think it made a difference when we were able to get Cole out of the game,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He’s a good pitcher now and he’s going to be a real good pitcher. He was tough.”
Both teams complained about home plate umpire Chris Conroy’s strike zone and Cole seemed particularly upset after the walk to Howard, though he stopped short of being critical when asked about some close calls during that at-bat.
“I made a couple of pitches on the black (of the plate) but those pitches can go either way depending on the judgment,’ Cole said. “I felt I made a couple of quality pitches.”
Pinch-hitter Michael Young’s sacrifice fly in the eighth extended the Phillies’ lead to 6-2.
The Pirates scored twice in the eighth on a pinch-hit RBI single by Garrett Jones and a double-play grounder by Andrew McCutchen.
McCutchen’s two-run double in the third opened the scoring. The Phillies cut the deficit to 2-1 on Revere’s RBI single in the fifth.
Starling Marte and Jose Tabata each had two hits for Pittsburgh, which has the best record in the majors, but has lost two of three since a nine-game winning streak. Marte ran his hitting streak to nine games.
Philadelphia won for just the 10th time in 25 games as it avoided dropping to a season-worst six games below .500. The Phillies won a series in Pittsburgh for the first time since 2008.
NATIONALS 8, BREWERS 5
WASHINGTON— Wilson Ramos hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning Thursday in his Fourth of July return to the Nationals.
Back after missing 44 games with a strained left hamstring, Ramos had three hits and a career-high five RBIs as the Nationals earned a split of the four-game series and moved back above .500 in their seesaw season.
Ian Desmond, moved to the No. 2 spot in a lineup “epiphany” from manager Davey Johnson, had three hits, stole two bases and scored two runs. Taylor Jordan allowed two runs over 5 2-3 innings in his second major league start, and Drew Storen (3-2) got the win despite blowing a 5-2 lead in the seventh.
Ramos and the Nationals quickly bailed out Storen with a two-out rally. Jayson Werth singled off Tom Gorzelanny (1-1). Reliever Brandon Kintzler walked Anthony Rendon and Ramos homered.
Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 22nd save.
On a star-spangled day in the nation’s capital, the game began at 11:06 a.m. and featured a national anthem sang by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a new “Freedom Song” performed by Neil Diamond.
DIAMONDBACKS 5, METS 4, 15 INNINGS
NEW YORK — Cliff Pennington hit an RBI single with two outs in the 15th inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks, boosted early by Gerardo Parra’s bunt double, outlasted the Mets to split an exhausting series at Citi Field.
Arizona scored in the final three innings but couldn’t close out the feisty Mets until Brad Ziegler retired Kirk Nieuwenhuis on a grounder with runners at second and third to end a game that lasted 5 hours, 46 minutes.
Anthony Recker and Nieuwenhuis hit tying homers in consecutive extra innings for New York, which dropped its final home appearance before hosting the All-Star game July 16.
In a span of four days, the teams played a 13-inning game, a 15-inning marathon and two others delayed by rain for a total of 3½ hours.
Chaz Roe (1-0) got the win. Scott Rice (3-5) took the loss.
MARLINS 4, BRAVES 3
ATLANTA — Donovan Solano had a pinch-hit, go-ahead single off Braves closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning to lift Miami.
The Marlins won two of three in the series and have won eight of their last 10 overall.
Marcell Ozuna had three hits, including a homer, and drove in two runs for Miami.
A.J. Ramos (3-2) allowed one hit with four strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Steve Cishek pitched the ninth for his 17th save.
Kimbrel (2-2) issued walks to Ed Lucas and Logan Morrison, and struck out Stanton and Ozuna before Solano batted for Derek Dietrich.
ROCKIES 9, DODGERS 5
DENVER — Michael Cuddyer hit a solo homer and drove in three runs to help Colorado avoid getting swept by Los Angeles in their three-game series.
Cuddyer, who recently had his team-record, 27-game hitting streak snapped, also added a two-run double.
Carlos Gonzalez contributed an RBI double before leaving late in the game with an apparent injury.
The Dodgers struggled to drive in runners against Jhoulys Chacin (8-3), a night after setting season highs in runs (10) and hits (17). The hard-throwing righty pitched out of trouble time and again, giving up four runs in 5 2-3 innings.
Yasiel Puig was in the lineup a day after leaving the contest early with a bruised hip after crashing into the wall. He finished 1 for 5 with an RBI as the Dodgers had their four-game winning streak halted.
TIGERS 11, BLUE JAYS 1
TORONTO — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings, Austin Jackson hit a two-run homer and the Detroit Tigers routed the slumping Toronto Blue Jays 11-1 on Thursday night.
Jackson went 4 for 5 with a walk and scored four times as the Tigers pounded out 16 hits while playing without achy slugger Miguel Cabrera.
Torii Hunter had three RBIs and Prince Fielder drove in a pair of runs as the Tigers won for the ninth time in 11 meetings with Toronto.
Verlander (9-5) allowed three hits, all singles, while winning for the first time since June 7 at Cleveland. It was his first start in Toronto since he pitched his second career no-hitter on May 7, 2011.
The Blue Jays lost for the eighth time in 11 games since matching a franchise record with an 11-game winning streak.
Cabrera was held out of the lineup with a sore back. It was the first day off this season for Cabrera, the reigning AL Triple Crown winner.
Toronto starter Esmil Rogers (3-4) allowed season worsts of seven runs and 11 hits in five-plus innings.
WHITE SOX 3, ORIOLES 2
CHICAGO — Adam Dunn hit a game-ending solo homer off Tommy Hunter in the ninth inning, lifting the White Sox to the win.
Dayan Viciedo flied out to left before Dunn drove a full-count pitch from Hunter (3-2) over the wall in left for his 23rd homer. It was the third hit of the game for Dunn, who also had two RBIs.
Jose Quintana pitched seven innings of two-hit ball for the White Sox, finishing with a career-high 11 strikeouts. He retired his last 13 batters.
Addison Reed (4-1) got three outs for the victory.
Baltimore rallied against Nate Jones in the eighth. Brian Roberts scampered home when pinch hitter Matt Wieters reached on an error by first baseman Dunn, and Nick Markakis delivered a tying sacrifice fly.
ROYALS 10, INDIANS 7
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lorenzo Cain hit his first career grand slam, Salvador Perez provided a bases-loaded double in the eighth inning and the Royals rallied to get the win.
Kansas City trailed 5-0 before Cain’s slam and a solo shot by George Kottaras tied it in the sixth. The Indians regained the lead on Carlos Santana’s two-run double in the seventh, but the Royals answered in the bottom half on a two-run homer by Eric Hosmer.
Indians reliever Bryan Shaw (0-2) walked Kottaras to lead off the eighth and then hit Johnny Giavotella. Shaw was lifted for Rich Hill, who promptly walked Jarrod Dyson to load the bases.
Perez entered the game as a pinch hitter and roped a double down the left-field line, slapping his hands together on the way to first as the Royals cleared the bags for a 10-7 lead.
Luke Hochevar (2-1) worked a scoreless eighth inning for the Royals, and Greg Holland got three outs for his 19th save.
YANKEES 9, TWINS 5
MINNEAPOLIS — Vernon Wells drove in three runs, and the Yankees pounded rookie Kyle Gibson while finishing a four-game sweep.
Travis Hafner had three hits and scored twice, and Ichiro Suzuki had a two-run triple among his three hits for the Yankees, who scored 29 runs in the series.
The Yankees didn’t even need their usual super-sized contribution from Robinson Cano, whose streak of six straight multihit games ended without reaching base. He still batted .500 on the seven-game road trip with 11 RBIs.
Justin Morneau homered twice for the Twins, one-third of his season total. But Gibson (1-1) gave up 11 hits and eight runs in 5 1-3 innings.
New York starter David Phelps (6-5) was charged with four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings.
The Twins have lost 10 of their last 13 games.
RANGERS 5, MARINERS 4
ARLINGTON, Texas — Adrian Beltre homered twice and the Rangers used a four-run seventh inning to avoid a series sweep.
Beltre finished with three hits and two RBIs, and Mitch Moreland and Elvis Andrus each drove in a run.
With Texas trailing 3-1, Beltre led off the seventh with a drive to center against Hisashi Iwakuma (7-4). A.J. Pierzynski then singled and Lance Berkman walked before Moreland bounced a tying single up the middle against Charlie Furbush.
Andrus came up with a go-ahead sacrifice fly and Ian Kinsler capped the big inning with an RBI single.
Josh Lindblom (1-2) recorded the final two outs of the seventh to pick up his first win since Aug. 31, 2012. Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 28th save.
Raul Ibanez homered for the Mariners, belting a tiebreaking two-run shot in the seventh.
RAYS 7, ASTROS 5, 11 INNINGS
HOUSTON — Yunel Escobar drove in three runs, including a tiebreaking double in the 11th inning that sent Tampa Bay to the victory.
Escobar and Desmond Jennings each doubled twice and singled, helping the Rays win for the fifth time in six games.
Brett Wallace homered twice for the Astros.
Jose Lobaton walked to start the 11th and moved to second on a passed ball by Jason Castro. Escobar then doubled into the right-field corner off Josh Fields (0-1).
Jamey Wright (2-1) pitched a scoreless 10th for the win and Fernando Rodney finished for his 18th save.
RED SOX 8, PADRES 2
BOSTON — Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double, David Ortiz had a two-run single and the Red Sox handed the Padres their season-high sixth straight loss.
Brandon Snyder and Jacoby Ellsbury each hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who won eight of nine to match its best homestand since June 2010. Allen Webster (1-2) pitched six innings for his first major league win, allowing two runs and five hits.
The Padres have scored just seven runs in their losing streak. They also lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
Eric Stults (6-7) gave up four runs and nine hits over 4 1-3 innings for San Diego.
ATHLETICS 1, CUBS 0
OAKLAND, Calif. — Derek Norris scored on a passed ball with two outs in the seventh inning and that was enough for Oakland to get the victory.
Dan Straily (5-2) pitched seven innings of one-hit ball after being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento earlier in the day. He made the start to allow a sore Jarrod Parker to get two extra days of rest.
Norris walked with two outs and went to third on Seth Smith’s single.
Oakland then sent Eric Sogard to the plate to hit for Adam Rosales, and Matt Guerrier threw an 0-1 pitch to the outside part of the plate. Sogard swung and missed, and it went off the glove of Welington Castillo, allowing Norris to score the unearned run.
It was the first appearance for Guerrier (2-4) since he was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ryan Cook pitched the eighth for Oakland and Grant Balfour finished for his 21st save in 21 chances, completing the two-hitter.