MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) –Whenever the Miami Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies cross paths, entertaining baseball usually follows.
Cole Hamels and Henderson Alvarez have gone toe-to-toe twice this year, including a back-and-forth pitchers’ duel earlier this month.
Fans could be in for more of the same Tuesday night as the Philadelphia Phillies open a three-game road series against the Miami Marlins.
Hamels (9-7, 2.47 ERA) is looking to win back-to-back starts for the first time in almost two months after earning a 5-2 victory at San Diego on Wednesday. The left-hander struck out nine over seven innings of one-run ball, lowering his road ERA to 1.76 – second-best in the majors behind Adam Wainwright’s 1.72.
“He just seems to find a way,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “He has a lot of weapons and something usually works, if not everything.”
Hamels has gone 8-4 with a 1.86 ERA while allowing three or fewer runs in 21 consecutive starts. However, he’s been backed by two or fewer runs of support in 12 of those outings, and has gone nine consecutive starts without earning two wins in a row despite a 2.28 ERA in that span.
“I’m not trying to get too high or too low with the emotions of what can transpire during a game,” he said. “I’m just trying to get outs, no matter what the score is for us. I’m not trying to out-think myself or get too hyped up in certain moments or situations and it is working to my advantage.”
In his start just prior to Wednesday’s, Hamels gave up one run over seven innings opposite Alvarez in 3-1, 10-inning victory Sept. 12. Alvarez also allowed one run in seven innings, giving him a 1.99 ERA in six career appearances against the Phillies.
The right-hander bested Hamels in their first matchup of 2014, going seven scoreless innings in a 4-3 Marlins home win May 22. Hamels threw seven innings of three-run ball.
Hamels is 1-3 despite a 2.89 ERA in his last eight starts against the Marlins. Christian Yelich is hitless in 10 at-bats in their matchups and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 1 for his last 10.
Alvarez (11-6, 2.82) is coming off Wednesday’s 4-3 road win over the New York Mets. He yielded two runs over six innings to earn his fifth win in six decisions.
“Henderson has had his bumps and bruises, but he’s been able to fight through it,” manager Mike Redmond told MLB’s official website. “For me, Henderson has had a big breakout year as far as his innings, having success. He’s another guy, we’re not where we are without his success.”
The Marlins (74-81) are looking to regroup after managing seven runs during a four-game sweep by Washington. Marcell Ozuna collected one of Miami’s four hits before suffering a high ankle sprain while awkwardly sliding into second base in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat.
It’s uncertain if Ozuna will be able to return this year. He is second on the club with 23 homers and 85 RBIs.
“This is not good for us,” said Redmond, whose team recently lost slugger Giancarlo Stanton after he was hit in the face by a pitch. “We can’t really afford to lose anybody else out of that lineup. We’re piecing it together and grinding it out already. I don’t really know what to say. That’s tough. That’s another blow for us.”
The Phillies (71-85) dropped to 2-5 on their 10-game road trip with an 8-6, 10-inning defeat to Oakland on Sunday. Ben Revere, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Marlon Byrd and Cody Asche each had two hits but A.J. Burnett couldn’t get through the fifth inning.
Byrd drove in three runs, matching his total from the previous 18 games.
Philadelphia is 9-7 against the Marlins this year and 2-4 in Miami.
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