The Miami Marlins have had little success this month, except when they've faced the Philadelphia Phillies.
Hoping to beat Cole Hamels for a third straight time this season, the Marlins look for a fourth consecutive win over the visiting Phillies on Saturday.
Josh Johnson threw six strong innings and outfielder Justin Ruggiano had three hits and two RBIs as Miami (36-40) beat Philadelphia 6-2 on Friday for its second straight win overall. The Marlins, who went 21-8 in May, are 7-18 in June, but three of those victories have come in four games against the Phillies.
"It seems like we're coming around little by little," Miami manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Looking to win three in a row for the first time since sweeping Washington at home May 28-30, Miami has a good chance to do it again if they can continue their recent success against Hamels (10-3, 3.03 ERA).
The left-hander is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA against the Marlins this season, and 10-1 with a 2.64 ERA versus all other opponents. Hamels allowed a pair of homers to Hanley Ramirez and five runs overall in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-4 home loss June 2, his last start against Miami.
Hamels has yielded two runs and struck out 14 over 15 innings while going 1-0 in his last two outings overall. He gave up three hits in seven scoreless innings Sunday, but the Philadelphia bullpen could not hold a 1-0 lead en route to a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay.
While Hamels felt good following those seven frames, manager Charlie Manuel pulled him after throwing 111 pitches.
"You kind of understand that (pitch counts are) kind of part of the game now," Hamels told the Phillies' official website. "You just listen to your manager and go with (his) decision. When you reach a certain amount, they don't want to stress anything on your arm - just because you have to keep coming back every five days."
Hamels will try to help the Phillies (36-43) avoid extending their longest road losing streak of the season to five games. Hunter Pence hit his 15th homer and drove in two runs in the series opener for Philadelphia, which has dropped three straight overall after winning two in a row.
Chase Utley, who added a hit Friday, is 4 for 9 in three games since making his 2012 debut Wednesday following a knee injury.
Utley has never faced scheduled Miami starter Mark Buehrle (6-8, 3.55), who hopes to avoid a third consecutive loss to the Phillies after giving up seven runs and three homers over 11 1-3 innings in his previous two outings against them this season.
The left-hander snapped a personal four-game losing streak Sunday, when he allowed seven hits and struck out seven in seven innings of a 9-0 victory over Toronto.
"It was one of those days where everything kind of came together," Buehrle told the Marlins' official website.
Ruggiano has only appeared in 23 games this season, but is batting .478 (11 for 23) in his last nine.
"He rakes,'' Johnson said. "We were talking about it after his third hit, he never stops hitting."
- Cole Hamels
- Miami Marlins