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Phillies-Marlins Preview

AP - Sports

After avoiding a fourth straight loss to the major league-worst Miami Marlins, the Philadelphia Phillies appear to have a good opportunity to win the series with Cliff Lee on the mound.

Lee will attempt to win his third straight decision and lead the Phillies to their fourth straight series victory in Miami on Wednesday night.

Following a two-game absence due to a sore knee, Ryan Howard showed no ill-effects with three hits and three RBIs to help Philadelphia (22-24) end its skid against the Marlins (13-33) with a 7-3 victory Tuesday.

Ben Revere added three hits and Delmon Young hit his first homer in 17 games as the Phillies won for the sixth time in nine contests.

"Hopefully we can carry this over the rest of this road trip because we're going to need to score runs the rest of this road trip to win ballgames," Young said.

Philadelphia now turns to Lee (4-2, 2.83 ERA) as it looks to wrap up the first stop on an eight-game road swing in positive fashion.

Since going 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA during a three-start stretch, the three-time All-Star is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA over his last three outings - all Philadelphia victories.

Lee struck out seven and surrendered two runs over seven innings before leaving without a decision in a 5-3 victory over Cincinnati on Friday.

The left-hander has yielded three runs or less in seven of eight career starts against the Marlins, going 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA.

This time, he faces a Miami team that ranks last in the majors in several offensive categories, including runs (125), batting average (.224) and home runs (23).

The Marlins, though, will try to finish with 10 or more hits in three straight games for the first time since April 5-7. Former Phillie Placido Polanco has done some of the damage, going 4 for 8 in the first two games of this series.

Scheduled Miami starter Kevin Slowey (1-4, 3.44) has struggled since snapping his winless streak at 22 appearances in a 14-2 victory at Philadelphia on May 5.

The right-hander gave up six runs and seven hits - three homers - over three innings in a 9-2 loss to Arizona on Friday, leaving him with a 12.91 ERA in his last two starts after posting a 1.81 ERA in his first seven.

"It was the second time in a week that I haven't given my team a chance to win and that's disappointing," Slowey said.

Slowey has struck out 11 and yielded one run over 12 1-3 innings in two starts against the Phillies this season.

Howard is 9 for 17 with four doubles at Marlins Park this season, and Jimmy Rollins is 5 for 11 in his last three games against the Marlins.

Chase Utley, who is 1 for 7 lifetime against Slowey, could be sidelined for the second straight game after feeling discomfort in his right side during batting practice Tuesday.

"When he took a swing, he kind of felt a burn, a pain, in his rib cage," manager Charlie Manuel said.

The Phillies are also expected to be without catcher Carlos Ruiz for at least three weeks due to a strained hamstring.

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