PHOENIX (AP) - Ian Kennedy dominated the series opener. Daniel Hudson followed with another solid performance.
With Joe Saunders coming off his best outing of the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks hoped the left-hander could help them complete the sweep.
Plagued by another slow start, Saunders was roughed up for six runs in less than six innings, ending Arizona's hope of its first sweep over Philadelphia in four years with an 8-4 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday.
``You have to keep your head up, turn the page and get ready for next time because I don't think I am pitching that bad,' said Saunders, who has lost his last four decisions dating to last season. ``It is just the results aren't there yet. I am going to go home, sacrifice a live chicken and turn this thing around.'
Saunders (0-3) was joking, of course, but he and the Diamondbacks were definitely frustrated after Philadelphia got good hitting and pitching in the same game after struggling with one or the other the first two.
The Phillies couldn't hit in the opener, shut out to spoil Cliff Lee's solid start. Philadelphia banged out five runs the second game, but still lost because Roy Oswalt wasn't quite right.
The Phillies dominated the series finale with good pitching and even better hitting.
Jimmy Rollins keyed a big first inning with an RBI double and Ben Francisco knocked in two more with another double. Rollins later hit a two-run homer, and Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard also hit solo shots. Placido Polanco continued his torrid start to the season, getting four of Philadelphia's 12 hits and scoring three runs to extend his hitting streak to eight games.
That was more than enough for Cole Hamels (3-1), who pitched the Phillies to their 16th win in April, one short of the team record set in 1993.
``Anytime you hit, you feel good about yourself,' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Saunders, after a rough couple of starts, was solid his last outing, giving up a run and two hits in six innings of a no-decision against the New York Mets on Friday.
He wasn't nearly as effective against Philadelphia.
Hit hard almost from his first pitch, Saunders gave up three straight hits to open the game and three runs in the inning, on a run-scoring double by Rollins and Francisco's two-run groundrule double.
Victorino hit a two-out solo homer in the second and Rollins lifted his first homer to left off Saunders in the fifth, a two-run shot that put the Phillies up 6-1.
Saunders lasted 5 2-3 innings, giving up six runs on 10 hits - enough cushion for Philadelphia to absorb Chris Young's two-homer, three-RBI game.
``You are not going to pitch good in every game,' Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ``Give them some credit. They put some good swings on us and hit good pitches as well. We kept fighting and had opportunities, but they shut us down when it counted.'
Philadelphia came into the series on a five-game winning streak and looked to extend it with Lee and Oswalt lined up to face the struggling Diamondbacks.
Those two couldn't get it done, leaving it up to Hamels to avoid the sweep.
The left-hander wasn't quite as dominant as his shutout against the Mets on Friday, but was good enough against the Diamondbacks.
Hamels gave up an RBI double to Melvin Mora after a leadoff walk in the second inning, then retired the next 10 batters before pinch hitter Juan Miranda led off the sixth with a triple. Young hit the next pitch out to left for a two-run homer, cutting Philadelphia's lead to 6-3.
Hamels came back out to finish off the seventh after allowing three runs on four hits, picking up the win Philadelphia hoped to get from Lee and Oswalt.
``I don't necessarily think it was a pick-up,' said Hamels, who threw 100 pitches for the fourth straight start. ``You're not going to have good games all the time, but just knowing these are some of the best pitchers in the game and you have to go out and pick up your end of the bargain.'
Notes: Phillies C Carlos Ruiz left with lower back tightness after flying out in the first inning and was replaced by Brian Schneider. ... Arizona LF Ryan Roberts was 0 for 4, ending his streak at 13 games of reaching base safely. ... Philadelphia is 9-0 in day games and has won all eight of its series finales in 2011.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved