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Rockies Face Stiff Test In Philadelphia With Roy Halladay On Mound

(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Phillies seemed confident with Roy Halladay on the mound earlier this season. Lately they've been fortunate to get a win when the former American League Cy Young Award honoree starts.

Halladay will get the nod again Friday in the opener of a four-game series versus the visiting Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park and is just 2-5 with a 2.95 earned run average in his last eight starts. The Phillies are 3-5 in that stretch and Halladay is coming off Sunday's 11-6 loss against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The right-hander surrendered six runs -- five earned -- and seven hits in six innings after lasting at least nine innings in each of his previous two outings. Halladay fell to 10-8 in 20 starts and raised his ERA from 2.19 to 2.40 following his Windy City appearance. He will pitch against Colorado for the second time this season and did not figure into the decision of a 4-3 loss to the Rockies on May 12 at Coors Field.

Halladay allowed three runs, two of which were earned, and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings. He is 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA in two career starts against the Rockies.

The Phillies have been brutal lately and were able to salvage the finale of a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals with Thursday's 2-0 win in 11 innings at Busch Stadium. Placido Polanco homered to lead off the 11th inning and Jayson Werth later added an RBI double for a 2-0 score. Brad Lidge then posted his eighth save in the bottom half and Chad Durbin posted the win by getting the last two outs in the 10th inning.

Cole Hamels started for the Phillies and allowed just one hit over eight innings with seven strikeouts for the no-decision.

"We were getting single after single and to finally get a round-tripper, that's huge for us," Hamels said of Polanco's homer in the 11th. "Hopefully we can take this sort of game and momentum into tomorrow."

Philadelphia, which ended a four-game slide and is seven games behind the Atlanta Braves for the National League East lead, improved to 2-6 in eight games since the All-Star break and made a coaching move yesterday by relieving hitting coach Milt Thompson of his duties. Thompson had been the team's hitting coach since 2005 and will be replaced by another former Phillie in Greg Gross. Gross had been a coach with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs for the past three seasons.

The Phillies finished second in the Senior Circuit in scoring in 2005, first in 2006 and 2007, second in 2008 and first again in 2009. They are 12th in the NL this season in batting (.254) and on-base percentage (.322).

Colorado will begin the final stretch of its 11-game road trip and lost three of four games in south Florida. In Thursday afternoon's 3-2 loss from Sun Life Stadium, Ronny Paulino singled home the game-winning run off of Rockies reliever and losing pitcher Jhoulys Chacin.

Jorge De La Rosa held the Marlins to a pair of run and three hits over six innings in his third start since coming back from a left middle finger injury.

"I never lost my confidence," De La Rosa said on the team's site. "I'm going to try to be the same pitcher I was last year, and like I pitched today."

Ian Stewart homered and Jason Giambi finished 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Rockies who have lost six of eight games and are 2-5 on its road trip. Colorado is also 4 1/2 games behind San Diego for the NL West lead.

Taking the mound for the Rox tonight will be Aaron Cook, who is 2-0 in his last three starts and is coming off a solid performance in Sunday's 1-0 win at Cincinnati. Cook tossed seven shutout innings and struck out five batters to improve to 4-5 in 18 starts to go along with a 4.56 ERA.

Cook is just 1-5 in 10 road start this season and will take on the Phils for a second time in 2010. The righty allowed three runs in six innings of a 4-3 win at Coors Field back on May 12 and did not factor in the outcome. In 10 career games (9 starts) against Philadelphia, Cook is just 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA.

Colorado and Philadelphia split that weather-beaten series at 1-1 back in May, while the Phillies have won 11 of the last 14 matchups between the two clubs.