Halladay joy on return to perfect surroundings

MIAMI (Reuters) - Ace pitcher Roy Halladay's love affair with Sun Life Stadium continued with another strong performance that gave the Philadelphia Phillies a 6-1 victory over the Florida Marlins on Tuesday.

Returning to the venue of his perfect game on May 29, Halladay struck out nine batters and allowed just one run in seven innings to improve his record to 13-8 for the season.

"It seems like a long time ago," Halladay told reporters of his previous visit. "For me, it never crossed my mind. I think the quicker you can turn the page on something like that, the better."

The durable right-hander also contributed a two-run single in the fourth inning to spark the Phillies to a 4-1 lead.

Ruiz stepped up in the absence of slugger Ryan Howard, who was put on the 15-day disabled list prior to the game due to a sprained left ankle suffered on Sunday.

Philadelphia are already without injured starters Chase Utley (thumb) and Shane Victorino (abdomen), but were still able to pull within two games of the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East division.

The Marlins dropped their second straight game and the opener of their three-game stretch against the Phillies.

Pitcher Sean West made his first start of the season and allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings. The young left-hander went 8-6 for Florida last year but was just recently called up from the minor leagues.

"I just don't think I was prepared for spring training and they thought it was best for me to go down (to the minor leagues) and get some work," West said. "They threw me right there in the mix with Halladay. I definitely looked forward to the challenge."

Infielder Dan Uggla provided the Marlins' only score with his 24th home run of the season in the second inning, and went 3-for-4 at the plate.

(Editing by John O'Brien)