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LAD@PHI: Hernandez holds Dodgers to two over 6 1/3

Something will have to give on Friday as two of the National League's most struggling teams open a series in Philadelphia.

The 28-36 Phillies will host the 26-38 Cubs for a three-game set this weekend, with both teams looking to gain momentum in their seasons. Philadelphia had the edge when the teams met in Chicago in April, taking two of three at Wrigley Field.

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg will start the series against his former team by sending Roberto Hernandez to the mound. Hernandez (2-4, 4.35 ERA) picked up a win against the Cubs on April 4, giving up two runs over 5 1/3 innings.

The Phillies could use some endurance from Hernandez, who has reached the seventh inning in only two of his 11 starts this season. He lasted just four innings in his last start against Cincinnati and has been taxing the bullpen with his early exits.

Philadelphia has won three straight games, and a win Friday would give them a season-high four-game streak.

The Cubs, just 11-24 on the road this year, will counter with Jake Arrieta (1-1, 2.50 ERA), who's had problems of his own staying in games. After getting a late start to the season because of tightness in his right shoulder, Arrieta has maxed out at six innings, hitting that mark three times in his seven starts.

Arrieta is 1-1 with an 8.44 ERA in two career starts against Philadelphia.

Phillies: Howard sits against lefty
It seemed like a no-brainer Thursday when Sandberg started John Mayberry Jr. over Ryan Howard at first base against Padres left-hander Eric Stults.

Howard entered the afternoon with a .209/.268/.413 line against left-handed pitchers, compared to a .198/.254/.350 line the previous three seasons. Meanwhile, Mayberry has a .273/.385/.545 line against left-handed pitching this season and a .274/.326/.528 line against them in his career.

But then a quick look at the matchups showed Howard is 2-for-2 with two home runs and four RBIs in his career against Stults. Despite his struggles against left-handed pitchers, Howard has started 12 of 16 games against lefties this season. He also has hit fifth eight times after hitting there twice in the season's first four games.

Sandberg's decision paid off Thursday when Mayberry had three extra-base hits, including a three-run home run that sealed the sweep of San Diego.

Cubs: Bonifacio leaves game with rib injury
Emilio Bonifacio went to the ground awkwardly after grounding out to shortstop in his first at-bat against the Pirates on Thursday, exiting with a right rib cage injury.

Bonifacio was clearly in pain on the PNC Park turf, and he could be headed to the disabled list.

Losing the versatile veteran would be a blow to the Cubs, as Bonifacio has led off most of the season. The 30-year-old is hitting .267 with 16 RBIs and 13 steals this season.

Worth noting
• Reid Brignac picked up his second walk-off hit of the season Wednesday, when he hit a three-run home run in the ninth inning in a 3-0 victory over the Padres. Elias Sports Bureau said Brignac is the first Phillies player to snap a scoreless tie with a walk-off home run in nearly 42 years. Willie Montanez did it on July 28, 1972, when he hit a two-run home run against the Cubs' Milt Pappas in a 2-0 victory at Veterans Stadium.

• The Cubs are 8-21 in games decided by two runs or fewer. They also are 5-31 in games in which they score fewer than four runs.

• Friday's series opener will be a throwback night at Citizens Bank Park. Both teams will be wearing their 1964 uniforms. Comments