DENVER -- Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles knew it already, but his last start Monday against the Padres reinforced that he can make his job much easier by pitching to contact.
Lyles faces Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick on Saturday in the second game of a three-game series at Coors Field.
Lyles sailed through the first four innings but gave up three runs and three extra-base hits in his fifth and final inning against the Padres. Although he left with a lead, the Rockies eventually lost, 5-4.
But while he was in, he forced eight groundball outs, forced two double plays and generally let the Rockies' stellar defense do its work. Lyles (2-0, 4.32 ERA) has been solid in three starts because he has forced 29 groundball outs in 16 2/3 innings.
"That's my mindset going into the game, to get quick outs on the ground," Lyles said. "We have a tremendous infield, one of the better infields in the league. They know how to pick it. That's what they do best."
Kendrick is 1-0 with a 5.58 ERA in six appearances (five starts) in his career at Coors Field. He is 0-1 with a 3.50 ERA in three starts this season. If Kendrick can keep pitching like that, the Phillies rotation hopes to become more formidable than it has been the past couple seasons, when it has failed to make the postseason.
Phillies: Hamels set to return in L.A.
Cole Hamels will rejoin the Phillies rotation next week in Los Angeles.
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Friday afternoon at Coors Field that Hamels is most likely to start Wednesday against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium because it would allow the Phillies to split up left-handers Cliff Lee and Hamels with right-hander A.J. Burnett.
Hamels, who made his final rehab start Thursday with Class A Advanced Clearwater, opened the season on the disabled list because of inflammation in his left shoulder.
"Good reports on him," Sandberg said. "Command was good. He was throwing strikes and throwing all of his pitches in the zone for strikes. That's all good."
Rockies: Blackmon taking sizzling run in stride
How hot has Charlie Blackmon been this season?
After going 1-for-10 in three games leading up to Friday night's victory over the Phillies, Blackmon lowered his average to .411. Every baseball player in the Majors would be more than happy to sink to such a high average.
Blackmon picked it up Friday night, going 3-for-5 with an RBI to bring his average to .426.
Of course, Blackmon isn't swinging with the pendulum of averages that are all but impossible to maintain.
"That's not realistic," he said. "I'll come down. It's just a matter of time. I understand that.
"I'm a big even-keel guy. I don't get excited about great games and I don't let bad games bring me down, either. I show up with the same mindset every day and put myself in a good position to perform consistently."
• The Phillies and Braves played consecutive 1-0 games Wednesday and Thursday at Citizens Bank Park. Elias Sports Bureau said it is the first time it happened since their rivalry began in 1883.
• The Phillies entered their series against the Rockies with a 30-9 (.769) record in regular-season games against Colorado since the beginning of the 2008 season. It is their best winning percentage over any team in that stretch.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.