MIAMI (AP) - After struggling in his first two starts, Cole Hamels made a step in the right direction Saturday night against the Miami Marlins.
Hamels allowed one run and three hits in six innings and didn't get a decision in the Philadelphia Phillies' 2-1 loss.
``Cole did fine,' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ``His stuff was real good.'
Hamels, who entered with a 10.97 ERA from his first two starts, held the Marlins without a hit until the fifth inning when No. 8 hitter Adeiny Hechavarria tripled to right-center field. The two-out hit was the Marlins' first triple this season and 16th extra-base hit. Miami, which is batting .206, has a paltry .266 slugging percentage.
``Still really trying to get ahead of hitters early,' said Hamels, who struck out five and walked three. ``I was able to make an improvement there, but I still wasn't where I know I'm able to just get that first-pitch strike.'
With Hamels out of the game, Chris Coghlan hit a game-ending single against a draw-in infield with one out in the ninth inning, giving the Marlins just their second win.
``It's huge for the morale,' Coghlan said. ``We've lost a lot of tight games and our record obviously shows that.'
Jose Fernandez, the Marlins 20-year old phenom, pitched six scoreless innings. Miami (2-9), playing without slugger Giancarlo Stanton for the second straight day because of a bruised left shoulder, became the last team in the major leagues to win two games this season.
``It wasn't perfect, but it's nice to get a win,' Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. ``(Coghlan) was a late addition to the lineup and we talk about opportunities.'
Fernandez gave Miami the lead in the fifth with an RBI single.
Placido Polanco led off the ninth with a walk against reliever Phillippe Aumont (1-1). Greg Dobbs followed with a hard-hit grounder to first baseman Kevin Frandsen, who could not make the play. The ball rolled into right field for a hit and Polanco advanced to third.
After Austin Kearns struck out, Coghlan hit a hard grounder to second baseman Chase Utley, playing on the infield grass. Utley bobbled the grounder and his throw was late to the plate as Polanco slid headfirst into home for the winning run.
``I tried to pick it clean on the in-between hop and I wasn't able to pick it clean,' Utley said.
Steve Cishek (1-1) pitched the ninth.
Fernandez allowed only two hits and two walks while striking out five.
``Every time I go out there I try to enjoy it and have fun,' Fernandez said. ``It's fun to pitch here in Miami in front of the crowd. It was a really good feeling and I'm going to continue to enjoy it.'
Fernandez then got his first big league hit, driving in the first run.
``I just threw probably the worst pitch I could throw,' Hamels said.
Fernandez was pulled after six innings in favor of A.J. Ramos, who promptly allowed a base hit to Domonic Brown, the Phillies' first hit since Freddy Galvis' two-out single in the second.
Second baseman Donovan Solano tried turning the double play but his throw ended up in the stands for an error and allowed Brown to tie it 1-all.
The Phillies had an opportunity to score in the second inning. Laynce Nix and Galvis both singled with two outs, but Fernandez calmly retired Erik Kratz to get out of the inning.
``We didn't hit the kid,' Manuel said. ``Actually he took them to a good place in the game really. We didn't hit him. That was the bottom line. He held us and pitched good.'
NOTES: Fernandez has a 0.82 ERA in his first two starts and has struck out 13 in 11 innings. ... Phillies RF Laynce Nix made a diving catch in the first inning to take a hit away from Polanco. ... Marlins OF Justin Ruggiano (groin) was a late scratch to the lineup and was replaced by Coghlan. Ruggiano is considered day to day. ... Philadelphia will send RHP Roy Halladay (0-2, 14.73 ERA) to the mound Sunday for the series finale and the Marlins will counter with RHP Kevin Slowey (0-2, 2.19 ERA).
The Associated Press News Service
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