- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - Cole Hamels was sharp once again, but came up on the losing end.

Hamels gave up two runs in seven solid innings as the Philadelphia Phillies lost 2-0 to the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.

“He continues to go out and compete and do his job and a very, very solid outing,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “Who knows, with a little run support early it might have even been better.”

It was the 22nd consecutive start that Hamels (9-8) has allowed three runs or fewer and the 14th start of the season that he’s pitched at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer.

“Anytime you’re able to go seven and give up as few runs as (two or fewer), then that’s looked at as doing your job,” Hamels said. “But ultimately I strive to finish what I start.”

Henderson Alvarez pitched into the eighth inning to outduel Hamels.

“This is the second time I’ve faced him and he’s gone on to pitch good games and it kind of helps me go along as well,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez (12-6) gave up five hits and struck out two over 7 2-3 innings to lower his ERA to 2.70. Jeff Baker and Casey McGehee had RBIs for the Marlins in the 2-hour, 20-minute contest.

“When gets into a rhythm, he gets quick outs and he was able to do that, which allowed him to stay in the game and he did exactly what we needed him to,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “We got him his two runs and we were able to hang on.”

Alvarez is 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in six starts against the Phillies this season.

“I’d say for the most part he’s given us a tough time this year,” Sandberg said. “He’s good with his live fastball. He’s got some body action out there that has some deception to it, but I’d say overall he’s pitched good against us.”

Alvarez issued a two-out walk to Carlos Ruiz in the top of the eighth inning, ending his night after 97 pitches as he was replaced by left-hander Mike Dunn. After Chase Utley singled, Dunn struck out Ryan Howard with runners on first and second to end the inning.

Steve Cishek pitched the ninth for his 38th save to preserve the Marlins’ 16th shutout of the season.

Hamels got into trouble in the fourth inning when he allowed consecutive singles to Jeff Baker, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Lucas - who drove in Baker with his base hit to center.

“I thought they were good pitches too, that’s what stinks,” Hamels said. “They were at least the right pitches I wanted to throw at the right time, they missed by just a hair.”

The Marlins extended the lead to 2-0 in the fifth after Christian Yelich doubled and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by McGehee.

Only two Phillies runners advanced to scoring position against Alvarez, who calmly retired the next batter each time to end the second and fifth innings.

Hamels will look to reach the 200-inning plateau for the fifth consecutive season when he makes his final start of the year on Sunday against Atlanta.

“That’s always the goal to get to 200 innings,” Hamels said. “

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: CF Marcell Ozuna suffered a high ankle sprain on his right ankle during Sunday’s game against Washington after running into second base. “We’ll see how he comes in today as far as if there’s even a possibility of him playing any more this season,” Redmond said before the game.

UP NEXT: Phillies RHP Kyle Kendrick (9-13, 4.73) will face Marlins LHP Brad Hand (3-8, 4.59) on Wednesday. Kendrick is 13-3 with a 3.57 ERA in his career against the Marlins.

WINS HARD TO COME BY FOR HAMELS

Hamels is on pace to establish a new career-best in ERA, but currently only has nine wins in 29 starts.

“Yeah (it’s hard to believe), because sometimes when you’re looking at guys that have (low) ERAs, most of them have 18-20 wins,” Hamels said. “It’s just going out there trying to plug away and work towards something the next year - I think that’s something that I can kind of control. When you start a season and make personal goals, what can you control and ERA and innings are what you can really control.”

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