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Preview: Phillies Send Joe Blanton To The Hill For Game Two Against Padres

(Sports Network) – The confidence level didn’t seem high for the Philadelphia Phillies after they were swept in four games at home by the lowly Houston Astros. But after Friday’s win at San Diego in the opener of a three-game series from Petco Park, the Phillies should feel a little better about themselves heading into Saturday afternoon’s second portion of this set.

Padres starter Jon Garland is clearly the reason why since he’s 0-4 with a 7.94 earned run average in five career starts against Philadelphia. Garland took the mound in south Philly back on June 5 this season and was hammered for six runs and 10 hits in seven innings of a 6-2 loss. In a 5-1 loss to the Phils on August 18 of last season, Garland gave up five runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings of work.

The Phillies can only hope history repeats itself tonight after only mustering one run on five hits through seven innings against Padres starter Mat Latos on Friday. Placido Polanco plated Jimmy Rollins on a close play at the plate with a single to center in the top of the 12th, while Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley both contributed RBI hits for Philadelphia, which pulled within two games of Atlanta for the NL East lead and sit a half-game in front of San Francisco for the top spot in the wild card race. The Giants lost to Arizona on Friday and the Braves were beaten by Florida.

Phils starter Roy Oswalt fired eight innings of one-run ball in the no- decision and reliever Chad Durbin picked up the win with two scoreless innings of relief. Brad Lidge suffered his fifth blown save of the season for allowing the game-tying run on a balk in the bottom of the ninth.

“It was a bizarre thing,” Lidge said of the balk. “The ball hit my glove and it started to come out. I had to look down to get the gripe, otherwise the ball would have fallen out. By that time my momentum was taking me forward, so basically I had to step off or else I would have fallen on my face.”

Joe Blanton takes the hill tonight for the Phillies and he’s 5-6 with a 5.32 ERA in 21 starts this season. Blanton is 2-0 over his previous six outings and did not figure into the outcome of Monday’s 3-2 loss versus Houston, as he permitted only one run and fanned nine batters in seven innings.

The righty will face San Diego for the fourth time in his career — all starts — and is 1-1 with a less desirable 6.75 ERA. Being 1-4 in nine road starts this season doesn’t bode well for Blanton.

San Diego still leads the NL West by six games over the Giants. While Latos was impressive as usual on the hill Friday, Ernesto Frieri was dealt the loss for allowing the go-ahead run to score in the 12th inning. Frieri is part of the top bullpen in baseball.

“It was two guys with great stuff,” Padres manager Bud Black said of the pitching matchup.

Yorvit Torrealba drove in a run and Ryan Ludwick recorded a pair of hits for the Padres, losers of two straight and four of seven games.

Garland, meanwhile, has won three straight and four of his past five starts. He owns a 13-8 mark in 26 starts to go along with a 3.25 ERA, and previously toed the rubber in Sunday’s 7-3 win at Milwaukee. The righty allowed two runs on eight hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings.

He is 7-2 in 13 starts at Petco Park this season.

Philadelphia and San Diego split a four-game series from June 4-7 at Citizens Bank Park, but the Phillies have won eight of the past 10 matchups between the two ballclubs. The Phils have won five straight as the guest.