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TB@PHI: Hamels shuts out Rays through seven innings

Between them, Phillies lefty Cole Hamels and Marlins southpaw Mark Buehrle have won 16 games this season.

But when the two pitchers have faced each other's teams, they haven't seen nearly the same success.

With a combined 0-4 record, Hamels and Buehrle will each try to get their first win of 2012 against their division rival when the Phillies and Marlins meet Saturday in the second game of the weekend set.

In two starts this year against the Phillies, Buehrle has 5.56 ERA over 11 1/3 innings. The 33-year-old has given up 19 hits and seven earned runs, including three homers.

The good news for Buehrle, however, is he is coming off one of his best starts of the season, going seven shutout innings and striking out a season-high seven against the Blue Jays. It snapped a four-game skid for him, and it also marked the first time this season he did not give up a run.

"I take pride in myself for going out there, going deep into games," Buehrle said. "When you do that, you're going to get a lot of decisions -- hopefully more on the winning side. It's going to happen."

While Buehrle has struggled against other teams besides the Phillies, Hamels has only one loss this season against clubs other than Miami.

The 28-year-old boasts a 6.00 ERA over 12 innings against the Marlins this season, surrendering nine runs (eight earned) and allowing 15 hits.

Like Buehrle though, Hamels is also coming off a dominant outing. He threw seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball against the Rays his last time out. If it wasn't for a 33-pitch fourth inning, a pitch-count killer, Hamels probably would've pitched the eighth, as well.

"You just listen to your manager and go with [his] decision," Hamels said. "When you go out there, ultimately, the pitch count is kind of a factor in this day and age. 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."

Marlins: Buck improving
John Buck has labored at the plate for much of the season, with his batting average hovering around .160 since late May. But during the last six games, Buck has finally turned a corner, batting 7-for-23 with three home runs and eight RBIs.

The Marlins catcher has worked with hitting coach Eduardo Perez on a few minor adjustments to shorten his swing, but he hasn't made a major mechanical overhaul.

"When you look at film [from earlier this season and now] and you put them both side by side, you can't tell the difference," Buck said. "It's the same. I'm just literally ... my hands are a fraction of a bit higher on the ball where my barrel is hitting."

While Buck hasn't let his struggles in the batter's box affect his performance behind the plate, manager Ozzie Guillen is pleased his backstop is starting to come around offensively.

"We need that," Guillen said. "He's struggled all year long, and now we have the help from the bottom of the lineup. The bottom of the lineup most of the year has been very dry; not that much action down there. But now with Buck swinging the bat that way, it's a big help, a huge help."

Phillies: Halladay throws bullpen
Roy Halladay threw 33 pitches Friday in his first bullpen session since he landed on the disabled list in May with a strained latissimus dorsi in his back.

Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said Halladay is a little bit ahead of schedule -- more days than weeks, he stressed -- and is "progressing nicely."

"Is it quicker than the doctor probably thought?" Dubee said. "It might be a few days, but not major. But his work ethic dictates that, too."

The Phillies originally offered a six-to-eight-week timetable for Halladay's return to the mound.

Dubee declined to say when Halladay might throw his second bullpen session or how close he might be to a rehab start.

"We'll see how he feels tomorrow," Dubee said. "What he's going to do after this is undetermined."

Worth noting
• Jimmy Rollins' 36 hits in June are the most by a Philadelphia player in one month since Placido Polanco had 41 hits in April 2011.

• The Marlins have just eight wins in their last 30 games at home against the Phillies, including Friday's victory.

• Chris Bosh and Shane Battier of the NBA champion Miami Heat will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitches on Saturday at Marlins Park. Comments