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Hamels sharp in return from suspension

Phillies ace Cole Hamels returned from a five-game suspension for throwing at Nationals’ rookie Bryce Harper. (Associated Press)
Phillies ace Cole Hamels returned from a five-game suspension for throwing at Nationals’ rookie Bryce Harper. (Associated Press)

While the Phillies have been looking for answers as they’ve struggled through the first five weeks of the season, Cole Hamels has been one of their most consistent pieces as they look to climb out of the cellar in the N.L. East.

Hamels was stellar on the mound in his return from a five-game suspension, extending his winning streak to five games with seven innings of one-run ball Sunday to help Philadelphia beat another last-place team, the San Diego Padres, 3-2.

“It’s nice to get some runs. Obviously when you get runs you can win,” said Hamels. “I know if I just go out there and I battle and try to pitch deep into the ball game and we put up some runs, then I can get wins. If we’re able to score early then I just have to work off that. There’s been a few times where we scored late. I think it’s helpful just being able to go out there and know that your team is going to come through at the end.”

Hamels (5-1) was suspended by Major League Baseball after the Phillies left-hander intentionally threw a pitch that hit Washington rookie Bryce Harper a week ago.

Alfonzo’s drug suspension lifted

A person familiar with the decision said Major League Baseball has dropped its 100-game suspension of Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo for a positive drug test because of the same procedural issues that came up in the Ryan Braun case.

Alfonzo is eligible to play immediately, according to the person, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.

Mostly a backup during six major league seasons, Alfonzo become the first player suspended twice for performance-enhancing drugs under the MLB testing program when the commissioner’s office announced a 100-game penalty last September.

Cardinals honor Braves’ Jones

Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones received a framed photograph of himself following through on a swing and a Cardinals jersey signed by Jones’ boyhood idol Hall of Famer Stan Musial in a ceremony prior to his final regular-season game in St. Louis.

The 40-year-old Jones, who is retiring after this year, got a rousing ovation from a packed crowd during the ceremony. He got a standing ovation before his first at-bat on Friday.

Jones was a career .284 hitter against the Cardinals in St. Louis with 23 home runs and 69 RBIs in 113 games.

Clearing the bases

Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp was removed from the game against the Colorado Rockies because of a recurring hamstring problem after grounding out in the third inning. Kemp has played in 399 consecutive games, the longest current streak in the majors. … An MRI confirmed that Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He’s the 11th National to go on the DL this season.

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