Philadelphia (43-42) at Colorado (42-43)

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  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Fri Jul 6, 2007
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The Philadelphia Phillies promoted Kyle Kendrick from the minors to help fill their injury-depleted rotation. The last thing they want is for the right-hander to join their growing list of pitchers on the disabled list.

The Phillies hope Kendrick can overcome a right groin strain to win his fourth straight start as they visit the surging Colorado Rockies on Friday in the teams’ first meeting of the season.

“I can pitch,” Kendrick told the Phillies’ official Web site. “I’ll be good to go.”

Kendrick (3-0, 4.38 ERA) suffered the strain in a June 19 start at Cleveland, and he aggravated the injury while helping the Phillies (43-42) beat the visiting New York Mets 5-3 on Sunday. The pain forced the 22-year-old right-hander to pitch from the stretch with the bases empty before he exited after 6 2-3 innings, having allowed a season-low two runs, six hits and three walks.

The Phillies have won all four of Kendrick’s outings and he has not allowed more than four runs or thrown fewer than six innings in any of them.

“Anybody that gets people out is good,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

The Phillies purchased Kendrick’s contract from Double-A Reading on June 13, four days after Freddy Garcia went on the 15-day disabled list for a sore right shoulder. Garcia is among six Philadelphia pitchers on the DL, a list that includes starter Jon Lieber, who learned earlier this week he must undergo season-ending foot surgery.

The Phillies are three shy of matching their 2000 club record for pitchers used in a season at 27.

Philadelphia enters its final series before the All-Star break having lost five of seven games, winning only the finale in each of its last two series. Cole Hamels’ seven strong innings lifted the Phillies to an 8-3 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

Kendrick will be countered by Jeff Francis (8-5, 3.56), who has three more wins than any other Rockies pitcher and whose ERA is nearly a run better than any other starter.

The left-hander has won his last three decisions, improving to 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 11 starts since May 7. He is 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in five home starts over that span.

Francis helped the Rockies end an eight-game losing streak in his last outing, giving up three hits and four walks in seven innings of a 5-0 win at Houston on Saturday.

“Fortunately, I had a good curveball going,” Francis told the Rockies’ official Web site. “I was able to get some strikes on the outer half to righties. I think with those two things, I kept them off balance.”

One of his top concerns will be reigning NL MVP Ryan Howard, who is batting .317 (20-for-63) with six homers and 19 RBIs in his last 16 games. However, Howard has hit only .204 against lefties this season.

Colorado (42-43) is coming off a three-game home sweep of the New York Mets, completed with a season-high run total in a 17-7 win on Wednesday. The Rockies outscored the Mets 34-12, but now they face a Phillies team which has scored the most runs in the NL.

Colorado has won four of five, a stretch during which Garrett Atkins and Matt Holliday have each hit .421 (8-for-19). Atkins has two homers and 10 RBIs in that span, while Holliday has a homer, seven RBIs and five walks.

“Our lineup top to bottom is swinging the bat well right now,” Holliday said. “There’s no break one through eight.”

Francis beat the Phillies the only time he faced them, striking out eight and allowing four hits in six scoreless innings of the Rockies’ 9-2 home win on July 31, 2005.

The Phillies won last year’s season series 4-3 after taking two of three at Coors Field, but the teams’ last meeting was April 27, 2006. Philadelphia is 5-9 against NL West teams this season.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Kendrick Phi vs. J. Francis Tor
10-4 Record 17-9
3.87 ERA 4.22
49 K 165
25 BB 63
1.27 WHIP 1.38

Scoreboard

Friday, Jul 6