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Marlins, Cosart Hope To End Losing Skid

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PHILADELPHIA (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Marlins will take any advantage they can get after losing their fifth straight game on Tuesday night.

Cole Hamels is the majors' leader in opponent batting average on balls in play.

Unfortunately for him, more than half the hits he's allowed have left the ballpark.

In Wednesday night's matchup with the Marlins in Philadelphia, Hamels faces the tough task of trying to shut down Giancarlo Stanton, who is heating up at the plate.

Hamels (0-2, 5.00 ERA) has a .122 opponent batting average on balls in play, however seven of the 12 hits he's allowed have been homers. He gave up 14 home runs all last season, allowing 0.62 per nine innings for the NL's sixth-best mark. He's at 3.50 home runs surrendered per nine this season.

After serving up two more homers and yielding five runs in six innings in Thursday's 5-2 loss at Washington, Hamels said he's elevating pitches.

"It's not a place I want to be in," he said, "but I know I have to make the adjustment."

While the home run rate is a tad alarming, the slow star isn't a complete surprise. The left-hander is 1-7 with a 5.16 ERA in 11 April starts since 2013, compared to a 2.77 ERA in all other months.

Hamels has 18 strikeouts in 18 innings and has struck Stanton out 17 times in 43 at-bats. The slugger has also taken him deep three times among his 12 hits.

Stanton, batting .370 in his last seven contests, homered for the third time in five games Tuesday but the Phillies got two-run homers from Ryan Howard and Freddy Galvis in a 7-3 win. Philadelphia (5-9), which ranks near the bottom of the league with eight homers and a .323 slugging percentage, had gone five straight games without a home run.

"You go out there, you swing, balls come off the bat and guys make plays," said Howard, who had two hits to raise his average 34 points to .209. "Sometimes it doesn't go your way. All you can do is continue to go out there and swing, and just try to put good at-bats together."

Miami's losing streak reached five and manager Mike Redmond didn't get an endorsement from owner Jeffrey Loria after meeting with him and general manager Dan Jennings before the game.

"We have to grind it out," reliever Mike Dunn said. "Pressure? We have to go out and win. Plain and simple."

The Marlins (3-11) have been hurt by subpar pitching during their skid with starters posting a 7.03 ERA. The slide began with Thursday's 7-5 loss to the New York Mets when Jarred Cosart (0-1, 4.76) gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.

The right-hander regressed a bit after yielding a run and three hits over six innings against Tampa Bay in his season debut. This will be his first game against the Phillies but he is no stranger to the organization. Cosart was one of the prospects the Phillies traded to Houston for Hunter Pence in 2011.

Hamels has yielded three runs or less in all 10 starts against the Marlins since 2013 to compile a 2.73 ERA, but a lack of run support has left him with a 1-4 record.

Stanton is batting .429 with four homers in his last seven games at Philadelphia, but the Marlins have lost 18 of their last 24 there.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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