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PHI@CIN: Hamels fans seven in 7 2/3 scoreless frames

Cole Hamels hopes to continue his string of successful outings against his hometown team when the Phillies square off with the Padres on Wednesday night.

Philadelphia posted a 5-2 win in the opener of a three-game set on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Hamels, who hails from San Diego, is 8-2 with a 2.39 ERA in 14 career starts against the Padres.

The 30-year-old southpaw is coming off what was likely his best outing of the season, as Hamels held the Reds scoreless over 7 2/3 innings while allowing five hits in the Phils' 8-0 win last Friday.

"He had a lot of takes for strikes, indicating he was hitting his spots inside and out," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He really set the tone."

Hamels entered that outing 9-0 with a 1.49 ERA in 12 career starts against the Reds -- the Phillies went 12-0 in those games -- which included his big league debut in 2006, a 15-strikeout complete game in '07 and a shutout in Game 3 of the 2010 National League Division Series.

"I don't know how to explain it," Hamels said of his success against the Reds. "When you have something that positively affects your life, anytime I'm here and going up against that team, it's what I associate with, those positive memories. That kind of jump starts [it]. When I face them, when I'm here, things are already in a better zone."

Hamels will be opposed by right-hander Tyson Ross, who allowed a season-high six runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Nationals his last time out.

It was an inauspicious start to the month of June for Ross after a successful May, in which he went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA. However, Ross didn't make it through six innings in two of his last three starts.

In May, Ross had given up just one earned run in five of his six starts. But before he could even record an out against Washington, Anthony Rendon launched a 425-foot bomb into the second deck beyond left-center field.

"In the sixth inning something was off and I just kind of lost my release point," Ross said. "I needed to make an adjustment and get myself back on track but it kind of snowballed on me. They really made me pay."

Across 5 1/3 innings, Ross allowed a season-high six runs (five earned) and five hits, while walking three and striking out seven.

Padres: Pitching staff enjoying first-half success
In his 12th season as pitching coach, Darren Balsley is overseeing a staff that ranks in the top 10 of several major statistical categories.

Entering Tuesday, the Padres ranked eighth in the Majors with a 3.42 ERA, ninth with 513 strikeouts, fourth with just 175 walks and 10th in opposing batting average (2.44).

"Darren's a good teacher," said manager Bud Black, one of Balsley's former pupils. "I think that's probably his biggest strength is his connection with the student. He's got a good eye for pitching. He's studied pitching for a long time."

Black added that Balsley's ability to identify strengths and weaknesses in his pitchers and tailor his one-on-one instruction to suit them is another strength.

Phillies: Adams' MRI comes back clean
Reliever Mike Adams had an MRI on his right shoulder that came up negative and, while he'll be sidelined for up to 10 days, it's better than the alternative.

"The worst would have been the rotator cuff was torn up again," Adams said. "I don't have much of that left so any kind of tear is bad news."

Instead of surgery, Adams will have a cortisone injection at some point later this week to hopefully strengthen a frayed labrum. From there, Adams -- who has a 2.12 ERA -- will be sidelined until near the end of June.

"To get those results back I'm optimistic again," Adams said. "It will be at least 10 days before I pick up the ball. That's not in stone or anything but around that time. We'll do the injection in the next few days, let it calm down and then strengthen it back up."

Worth noting
• According to Sandberg, veteran left-handed ace Cliff Lee is close to picking up a ball again after sustaining a strained left elbow. Lee has not thrown since May 19.

"This is the first time he's gone through something like this other than some neck and back issues, so it's all new to him," Sandberg said. "In that area it's necessary to get pain free before he starts anything. The sensation and discomfort lingered a little bit longer."

• Phillies third baseman Cody Asche (left hamstring strain) will play in simulated games this week in Clearwater, Fla. If all goes well, he could begin a rehab assignment as soon as Friday.

• San Diego closer Huston Street ranks third in the Majors with 18 saves, behind only Sergio Romo (20) and Francisco Rodriguez (19). Since 2011, Street has converted 103 of his last 110 save opportunities for a 93.6 save percentage, the best mark among all relievers over that span (minimum 50 save opportunities).

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