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PIT@SD: Cole allows one run, fans six over 5 2/3

Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole will make his second straight Fourth of July start against the Phillies on Friday, when Philadelphia and Pittsburgh open a three-game series at PNC Park.

Cole took a loss on July 4, 2013, at home in his only previous outing against the Phillies, going five innings while allowing three earned runs on eight hits.

Jumping ahead exactly one year, the 23-year-old is making his second start since he spent time on the disabled list in June with a fatigued right shoulder. His first one, on Saturday against the Mets, did not go according to plan. The No. 1 pick of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft tied a career worst by allowing five earned runs, all of which came in the first two innings. Cole surrendered a total of seven hits, walked three and struck out four in four frames.

"If I had to do it over, I'd take a little focus off the hitters and put more on just myself. I was a little too results-oriented early, trying to avoid the hits," Cole said following the loss. "That's a mentality we can have maybe in September, but it's important now to just be able to nail your delivery and throw quality pitches. That kinda escaped me today."

He'll oppose Roberto Hernandez, who'll get the ball for the Phillies after the team snapped a six-game losing streak in Miami on Thursday night.

The Phillies --who avoided a sweep against the Marlins -- enter their three-game series having lost seven of their last 10 games and sit in the basement of the National League East.

Henandez (3-7), who's won once in his last 11 starts, allowed two earned runs on three hits and three walks and struck out two in seven innings on Saturday in a loss against Atlanta. It was just the second time in 15 starts he pitched seven or more innings.

"I can't control winning. I can only control pitching," said the right-hander, who's 1-0 in two career starts against the Pirates. "But I think I pitched a good game. I kept the ball down, got some ground balls and didn't have too many walks."

Phillies: Hollands bruised kneecap not worrying
Phillies left-hander Mario Hollands took a line drive off his right kneecap Wednesday. He suffered a bruise, but manager Ryne Sandberg said he is OK.

Hollands was available to pitch Thursday, although Sandberg said before the game that he wanted to stay away from him if possible, which the manager did.

Outfielder Aaron Altherr, meanwhile, made his first big league start Thursday. He joined the team while Domonic Brown was on paternity leave, but with Brown expected back Friday, Altherr was optioned back to Double-A.

Pirates: Side session to test Liriano
Three weeks after landing on the disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle, southpaw Francisco Liriano will take his next step toward returning to the Pirates' rotation on Monday.

It just isn't known whether it will be in Indianapolis or in Busch Stadium.

Liriano, who reported no issues following Wednesday's 73-pitch simulated game, is due to throw a side session on Friday. Depending on how that exercise goes, he will either go on Minor League rehab assignment to Triple-A and face Lehigh Valley, or go through another sim game prior to the Bucs' game in St. Louis.

At either place, Liriano is looking to stretch out to 85 pitches, across five or six innings.

"We're considering the rehab game; it just hasn't been confirmed," pitching coach Ray Searage said. "Let's see how his bullpen goes."

Worth noting
• Entering Thursday, the Pirates were 0-7 in games that would give them a series sweep, and they fell short again, falling 10-2, to the D-backs.

• The Pirates have won each of their last four series and have gone 8-2 in their last 10.

• Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Chase Utley have started 1,142 games together as a double-play combination, most among all active combos in Major League Baseball. Comments