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6/10 - Marlins @ Phillies


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Runs were plentiful when the Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies opened their series, but they figure to be at a premium in Thursday night's finale.


With Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson on the mound, hits may be hard to come by as well.


Halladay threw the majors' 20th perfect game in a 1-0 win when his Phillies matched up against Johnson's Marlins 13 days ago, and another pitchers' duel could be on tap as two of the NL's top starters square off after rain postponed Wednesday's game in Philadelphia.


Halladay (8-3, 2.03 ERA) already had a Cy Young Award and six All-Star selections to his credit when he took the mound at Sun Life Stadium on May 29, but 115 pitches later he cemented his place in baseball immortality.


The right-hander threw the eighth perfect game in NL history and Philadelphia's second, striking out 11 Marlins while outshining an impressive effort from Johnson (seven innings, one unearned run) in a 1-0 win.


"It's unreal how he just goes about his business," said Johnson (6-2, 2.10), who has allowed one earned run in his past four starts. "It's all business, know what I mean? No messing around, no joking around. He's there for one reason. He's there to finish the game, pretty much, which is very impressive to watch."


Halladay's follow-up to his perfection was ordinary by his standards, but it was still good enough to lift the Phillies (31-26). He gave up two runs and 10 hits over seven innings, striking out seven, in a 3-2 win over San Diego on Friday.


"It's back to normal," said Halladay, whose home ERA (2.56) is more than a run higher than his road mark (1.52). "You turn the page pretty quickly."


Johnson, on the other hand, has a 3.52 ERA in four road starts as opposed to a 1.50 mark in eight home outings.


He's been virtually untouchable in his last five starts -- four at home -- going 3-1 with a 0.53 ERA. Johnson extended his streak of quality starts to 10 by giving up one run over seven innings and striking out eight in a 3-2 win over Milwaukee last Thursday.


"He's been real good," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "To get through that lineup only giving up one run, he did a hell of a job."


Johnson gave up five runs over 4 2/3 innings on Oct. 4, his last outing at Citizens Bank Park, but he's 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in five career appearances in Philadelphia.


Both teams could use quality starts from their respective aces after a high-scoring, back-and-forth opener Tuesday. Florida (28-31) had 13 hits -- three from prized outfield prospect Mike Stanton in his major league debut -- but blew leads of 6-3 and 8-7 in a 10-8 loss.


The 10 runs were the most the Phillies had scored since a 12-2 win over Pittsburgh on May 17. They'd averaged 2.16 runs in going 6-13 over the past 19 games prior to Tuesday's win.


"We came from behind, scored some runs and it looked like an old Phillie win," manager Charlie Manuel said. "It looked like who we are, who we've been. Hopefully, it'll continue."


Four of Philadelphia's 13 hits came from Raul Ibanez, who came in batting .209 with four RBIs in his last 22 games. He drove in two runs Tuesday as the Phillies improved to 16-3 when Ibanez has an RBI.


Ibanez is 1 for 11 in his career against Johnson.





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