By Sam Bush
Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley homered to support Roberto Hernandez’s solid start (photo above), and the Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-1 tonight for their third straight win over the NL Central leaders.
Hernandez (4-8) needed just 84 pitches in eight innings to dispatch the aggressive Brewers, who have lost four straight and eight of nine. Hernandez allowed three hits, and Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save.
Veterans Rollins and Utley homered off Kyle Lohse (9-4), who at one point retired 13 straight batters after Utley’s first-inning solo shot.
But Lohse gave up a leadoff single to Cameron Rupp in the sixth before Rollins hit a 2-1 hanging curve with two outs over the wall in right field for a two-run lead.
The Brewers scratched out a run in the second on Lyle Overbay’s hard single up the middle. Aramis Ramirez had a poor jump after freezing at second to make sure the ball wasn’t caught but center fielder Ben Revere’s throw home was offline to allow Ramirez to score and tie the game at 1.
Otherwise, Hernandez took advantage of the first-pitch swinging Brewers and got nine groundball outs in the first seven innings, including Jean Segura’s chopper to short with a runner on third to end the fifth. Hernandez didn’t allow a hit after the fourth in tossing just his second complete game in four seasons.
Lohse was even better for a stretch by working ahead with first-pitch strikes and finishing Phillies off with 90-mph sliders before running into trouble in the sixth.
Shortstop Rollins and second baseman Utley led the way at the plate, just like in the late 2000s. Rollins and Utley have started 1,146 games together, most among active double-play combinations in the majors.
With still one game left to play in Milwaukee, the Phillies have locked up a series win over the Brewers — a highlight for a team stuck in last place in the NL East.