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Halladay Strong In Phillies Win Over Braves

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Roy Halladay breezed through his final tuneup for the regular season, throwing in a two-run single for good measure.

The NL Cy Young Award winner pitched three innings of two-hit ball as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 6-1 Sunday.

Halladay, who will face the Houston Astros on Friday in Philadelphia, walked none and struck out three while lowering his spring ERA to 0.42.

“I feel good. I feel ready,” the right-hander said. “I think that today more than anything was about trying to keep things going and get out of here feeling good.

“I’m happy with where every thing is right now and I’m anxious to get going, he said.”

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez saw Halladay at his best last year when Gonzalez was the manager of the Marlins.

“I’ve never not seen him pitch good,” Gonzalez said. “I was there for that perfect game.”

Nate McLouth doubled in the first inning and Martin Prado singled in the third for the hits off Halladay this time.

Halladay raised his average for the spring to .400 with his two-out single in the second inning.

“I think we’ll keep him ninth,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard homered for the Phillies. Ibanez hit his fourth home run of the spring in the third inning against Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami and Howard smashed his fifth with a man on in the fifth off reliever Cristhian Martinez.

Howard, Shane Victorino and Ben Francisco all had two hits for the Phillies.

Jose Contreras, who will share closer duties for Philadelphia with Brad Lidge starting the season on the disabled list, pitched a perfect eighth inning — three groundouts.

Kawakami worked four innings and allowed five hits and a walk, striking out two. After the game, the former star in Japan was one of eight players dropped by the Braves to get down to the season limit of 25 players.

Winning the final roster spots were infielders Brooks Conrad and Brandon Hicks, outfielder Matt Young and relief pitcher Martinez, who gave up three runs in the fifth inning.

Sent to the minors with Kawakami were Rodrigo Lopez, catcher J.C. Boscan, infielder Ed Lucas and outfielder Wilkin Ramirez. Veteran reliever Scott Proctor was released and outfielder Joe Mather was placed on outright waivers.

Conrad, who made three errors at second base in a playoff loss to San Francisco last season, will be used primarily as a switch-hitter off the bench. He had a game-winning grand slam last season and seven of his eight home runs came in the seventh inning or later.

“Brooks, for me, I don’t think was a question,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t think he was ever in a position to have to compete (for a job).”

NOTES: The Phillies sent infielders Josh Barfield and catchers Dane Sardinha and Tuffy Gosewisch to minor league camp on Sunday. Philadelphia left-hander Cliff Lee, 4.74 ERA in five Grapefruit League starts, will pitch in a minor league game Monday rather than face the Houston Astros in the Phillies’ final game in Clearwater this spring. Atlanta right-hander Jair Jurrjens threw in the outfield before Sunday’s game and is scheduled to test his right side with a full bullpen session on Monday. He left his start against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday as a precaution after one inning because of discomfort in the ribcage area. The Braves will host the Washington Nationals on Monday night to complete their Florida schedule.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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