PHILADELPHIA – These homecomings happen a lot, but this one was a little more special than others around Major League Baseball.
Cole Hamels was one of the faces of a great era of Phillies’ baseball that brought Philadelphia a championship and two World Series appearances. He was a four-time All-Star in his decade-long run with the team, so his return was met with joy from player and fans.
Cubs Cole Hamels gets a standing ovation before his first at-bat back in Philadelphia 👏
Hamels’ #Phillies Accomplishments:
➡️ 4x All-Star (‘07, ‘11, ‘12, ‘16)
➡️ World Series Champion and MVP (‘08)
➡️ NLCS MVP (‘08)
➡️ 1x No-Hitter (‘15)
— PHLSportsNation (@PHLSportsNation) August 15, 2019
Normally fickle Philadelphia fans happily cheered Hamels when he made his first start at Citizens Bank Park since he was traded during the 2015 season. A standing ovation awaited him when he went to the plate in the third inning, and Hamels acknowledged the fans for their adoration.
Unfortunately, by that point, his night along with the Cubs was already headed down the tubes, and it didn’t get any better after that.
They were already down 4-0 before that at-bat, and he would give up two more in the bottom half of the third and eventually was charged with eight runs in just two innings of work. A Grand Slam by JT Realmuto off Alec Mills later that inning accounted for two of those runs in a disaster of an evening for the Cubs, who eventually lost 11-1.
What was a night of celebration for the career of Hamels turned into another road disaster in 2019 for the Cubs. They fell to 2-4 on the current road trip and have slid back into a tie for first place with the Cardinals, who won their fifth-straight against the Royals in Kansas City Wednesday night.
The road record sits at 23-37 – the second-worst in the National League – in a storyline that won’t die easy in 2019.
Unlike Tuesday night’s loss, where Jose Quintana struck out 14 batters but wasn’t picked up by the offense, the Cubs’ starter had nothing on his big night. Bryce Harper’s two-run homer in the first started the scoring, then three hits brought home two more runs in the second. Four-straight hits to open the third brought in another pair of runs as Hamels was chased from the game without recording an out.
Mills allowed the Grand Slam to Realmuto but would allow only one run after that as he pitched the final six innings to save the rest of the bullpen. On the other side, the Cubs had no answer for Aaron Nola, who allowed just three hits and one run on a seventh inning homer by Kris Bryant.
It was a performance that Hamels was used to having at Citizens Bank Park in his long tenure with the Phillies. But his inability to repeat it with his new team led to a long night despite a warm homecoming.