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Preview: Blue Jays "Host" Phillies As Hamels Takes On Marcum

(Sports Network) – Despite the home uniforms, designated hitter and walk-up music, the Blue Jays found out rather quickly that they weren’t in Toronto in Friday’s opener versus the Phillies.

After getting routed by the Phils and former teammate Roy Halladay last night, the Blue Jays will try to prevent Philadelphia from matching its longest winning streak of the season this afternoon when they again battle the club at Citizens Bank Park.

This series was shifted from the Rogers Centre to south Philadelphia back in May due to security concerns surrounding the city of Toronto’s hosting of world leaders in town for the G20 Summit. The Blue Jays are still being credited as the home team and are batting last in this series, while the DH rule is also in effect.

None of that helped the Blue Jays in last night’s opener as they were booed by the Philadelphia faithful and fell to the Phillies, 9-0, in Halladay’s first- ever matchup against his former club.

Halladay, who pitched with the Blue Jays for the first 12 years of his career, hurled seven shutout innings to snap a personal three-start skid. He scattered six hits and a walk while striking out four.

“It’s tough sometimes to face guys you know and the only way to really do it is to disconnect yourself as much as possible,” Halladay said.

Blue Jays starter Jesse Litsch couldn’t come close to matching Halladay in his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery as the right-hander allowed six runs in four-plus innings of work.

“I’ve seen that act before, lots of times,” said Toronto manager Cito Gaston of Halladay.

Not helping was Toronto getting shut out for the second time in three games while losing for the fourth time in its past five.

The DH rule actually helped the Phillies on Friday as Ross Gload got the start at first base with Ryan Howard serving as the designated hitter. Gload matched a career high with four RBI for Philadelphia, which was coming off a three- game sweep of the Indians and has won four straight for the first time since May 14-17.

The Phillies, who posted a season-high five wins in a row back on April 9-14, remained 2 1/2 games back of the Braves for first place in the National League East and are averaging seven runs per game over their last nine contests, winning seven of them.

They’ll look to keep that up tonight with a resurgent Cole Hamels on the hill as he continues to put a slow April behind him and aims to improve on his 6-5 mark and 3.75 earned run average this afternoon.

The left-hander was 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA after five April starts, but has gone 4-3 with a 2.91 ERA in nine start since. Hamels was solid versus the Twins on Saturday, allowing four runs — three earned — on five hits and two walks over seven innings with seven strikeouts. He retired 14 straight at one point, but got a no-decision when his club failed to hold a five-run lead in the ninth inning.

“I made a few pitches that I would’ve liked to have had back,” Hamels told the Phillies’ website. “I still thought I was able to go and execute. From there I was trying to make pitches and execute, and stay down in the zone.”

The 26-year-old 2008 World Series MVP is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in two career outings versus the Blue Jays and 5-7 with a 4.34 ERA in 15 interleague starts.

The Blue Jays turn to Shaun Marcum this afternoon and the right-hander is coming off a no-decision versus the Giants on Sunday. Season highs of eight strikeouts and five walks contributed to Marcum lasting just five innings, but he also allowed just four hits and two runs, one of which was unearned.

The 28-year-old is 6-3 with a 3.24 ERA on the season and is 1-0 with a 5.14 ERA in two career starts versus the Phillies. In 10 career interleague games, nine of those starts, Marcum is 5-1 with a 3.55 ERA.

The Blue Jays won four of six versus the Phillies last year, taking all three games at Citizens Bank Park.