The Philadelphia Phillies' offense broke out with a big game on Wednesday night. The Phils hope for a similar attack this evening when they go for a series victory over the visiting Miami Marlins.
The Phillies were limited to eight runs over their first four games, including just a pair in the opener of this three-game series on Monday, but came through with 14 hits in last night's 7-1 win. That included a span of five straight singles during a five-run third inning, a frame that rookie Freddy Galvis capped with a two-run double.
Hunter Pence had three hits for the Phillies and Carlos Ruiz hit a home run to help his club snap a three-game losing streak. Roy Halladay hurled seven innings, giving up a run on five hits.
"[Being up] five, six runs helps. It helps a lot. You can go after guys. You're trying to be as aggressive as you can," Halladay said.
An expected pitchers' duel never materialized after Miami's Josh Johnson was tagged for six runs on a career-high 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings.
The early season showdown of prominent hurlers came a day after an apologetic Ozzie Guillen addressed the media in Miami over favorable comments he made about Fidel Castro in a Time magazine article. The Marlins manager's statements have created an uproar in a community heavily populated with Cuban- Americans and led to a team-imposed five-game suspension that he started serving on Wednesday. Bench coach Joey Cora is the acting manager in Guillen's absence.
"[Halladay] got the lead and he stepped up. That's what the great ones do," Cora said.
Philadelphia will look to win the series tonight behind Joe Blanton, who makes his first start of the season. Blanton did appear in relief last Saturday in Pittsburgh, giving up a run while recording two outs and taking the loss.
The right-hander is aiming to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2011 season in which an elbow ailment limited him to 11 games (8 starts). Blanton went 1-2 with a 5.01 earned run average, while the 31-year-old is 6-2 with a 3.33 ERA in nine career starts versus the Marlins.
Miami's Mark Buehrle will face the Phillies for the first time since Aug. 30, 2004 when he makes his second start for his new club. The former White Sox hurler is 3-0 with a 5.06 ERA in three career starts against the Phils, but hasn't pitched in Philadelphia since June 20, 2002.
The 33-year-old southpaw took a loss in his Marlins debut last Thursday, struggling early in Cincinnati en route to a 4-0 loss. He was charged with two runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings.
The Phillies won 12 of 18 versus the Marlins last year, taking seven of nine at home.