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Halladay hurls seven frames of one-run ball

The Phillies won't be able to trot out the injured Cliff Lee in their four-game home series against the Cubs, but that's hardly much comfort for Chicago as it prepares for one of baseball's best pitching staffs.

The Cubs will face a stiff test Friday night at Citizens Bank Park as Roy Halladay takes the mound against Paul Maholm.

"They have a [2.93] ERA as a team," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the Phillies. "It's going to be tough to score runs and put things together. That's why they have one of the best pitching staffs over the last few years. Hopefully, getting into more of a hitters' park, we can hit some home runs. You have to do that against those type of pitchers because it's hard to string hits together. They don't walk anybody either."

The Cubs already have plenty of recent experience facing tough starting pitching, however, having played six of their last 12 games against the Cardinals.

"We knew going in, the first six weeks, with the teams we were going to play and the pitching we were going to face, that it would be a really tough stretch of games," Sveum said. "That's baseball. Every team is good, every team has more pitching than it had before. You see that by how runs are down in Major League Baseball.

"You take every game as if you're playing the world champions every day because baseball is baseball and [if] you put your guard down, you'll find yourself in a lot of trouble."

Philadelphia has had troubles of its own trying to put runs on the board. That minuscule margin for error puts plenty of pressure on Halladay to be perfect, but he has risen to the challenge for the most part this season, allowing only five runs over 30 innings with a 0.90 WHIP.

He was uncharacteristically off in his last outing, however, walking four batters -- including three in a row in the second inning -- against the Padres.

"It was just one of those things, couple close pitches," Halladay said. "They took some close pitches there. I didn't put the ball where I wanted. I felt good. I felt good all the way through mechanic-wise."

Halladay only gave up two runs in that start, but still took his first loss of the season as the Phillies managed only one ninth-inning run. Philadelphia will need to muster a little more run support to avoid handing Halladay a similar fate Friday.

Cubs: Campana making an impact
• Tony Campana went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Wednesday's loss to the Cardinals, but he has still made his presence felt on the basepaths early this season. Campana has stolen four bases in five games. Starlin Castro leads the team with seven steals.

Sveum said he likes having Campana bat in the two-hole, where he was Wednesday, because he can bunt well enough to move over David DeJesus or bunt for a hit.

"DeJesus' on-base percentage has been good and he can drive the ball and hit doubles to where Campana can bunt him over as well as get a hit when he's bunting them over," Sveum said. "If he pulls off a good bunt, he's going to be safe."

• With a hit Wednesday, Castro has reached base safely in 57 of his last 59 games, a streak dating back to Aug. 15.

Phillies: No place like home
• The Phillies won their first road series (in four chances) of the season with Wednesday's 7-2 victory over the D-backs. It was their longest drought to begin a season since 2007, when they didn't win a road series until their fourth chance on April 20-22 at Cincinnati.

They won't have much time off the road, embarking on a six-game road swing through Atlanta and Washington following this four-game homestand. The Phillies are 6-7 on the road this season. Last season, they established a club record for road wins with a Major League-best 50-31 record.

• After sitting out of the starting lineup Wednesday for the first time this season and Thursday's off-day, shortstop Jimmy Rollins should be back on the field Friday.

"I needed to give him a blow," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Worth noting
• Maholm is 3-2 with a 4.50 ERA in seven career starts against the Phillies but has not faced Philadelphia since July 3, 2010.

• Halladay has held current Cubs hitters to a .265/.272/.425 batting line in 115 plate appearances.

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