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Phillies cruise over Nats in Werth’s return

Cole Hamels was terrific once again, allowing five hits and one run in a complete game effort.

Phils 4, Nationals 1

What went right ...

1 Hamels in control

Cole Hamels was terrific once again, allowing five hits and one run in a complete game effort. Only a solo homer to Michael Morse in the seventh inning spoiled a potential shutout. Hamels struck out five and walked one while improving to 4-1 and lowering his ERA from 3.13 to 2.66. Hamels was around the strike zone all night and mixed his pitches enough to keep the Nationals off-balance.

2 Simply offensive

Manager Charlie Manuel tweaked his lineup to get the offense going. It worked. Jimmy Rollins batted leadoff for the first time this season and responded with two hits and an RBI. Despite a maddening 0-for-34 slump before the game, Raul Ibanez was inserted into the sixth spot. Ibanez went 2-for-4, including an RBI double. Even Hamels chipped in with a third-inning triple — the first by a Phillies pitcher since Cory Lidle an April 29, 2006 — and he added a single in the ninth, as the Phillies pounded out 12 as a team.

3 Not Werth it

Jayson Werth returned for the first time since signing a seven-year, $126 million deal last December. Werth walked in his first at-bat and then grounded out, popped out and struck out in the ninth. He also made a poor throw home when Rollins scored on Placido Polanco’s sacrifice fly in the fifth. Werth is now hitting .226.

Injured Utley could be headed for Fla.

Chase Utley went through a simulated game early yesterday afternoon as he continues to progress from a knee injury. There is still no exact timetable for his return to the Phillies.

The All-Star second baseman also played in a simulated game Sunday, and the club remains optimistic about his recovery.

“He’s closer than he was a week or two ago,” manager Charlie Manuel said.

Manuel indicated that Utley could be headed for extended spring training in Clearwater, Fla., soon. It would make sense since the Phillies open a three-game road trip in Miami. Utley hasn’t played in a regular season game this season.

 
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