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MIAMI (AP) – In a matchup of aces, Roy Halladay’s walk to Josh Johnson proved pivotal.
Johnson scored the Florida Marlins’ first run, and they squeezed out another in the eighth inning to beat Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 on Tuesday night.
Johnson didn’t get the win, but he kept his team in the game against the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, pitching seven innings and allowing only one run – on Ryan Howard’s eighth homer leading off the second.
Chris Coghlan’s single in the eighth drove home the tiebreaking run, which was unearned following an error by shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
Halladay (5-2) gave up only five hits in eight innings, but fell to 1-3 in his four matchups against Johnson. The loss ended Halladay’s streak of wins in 13 consecutive starts against NL East teams since July 5, 2010.
He was pitching in Miami for the first time since last May 29, when he threw his perfect game. Johnson was the losing pitcher that night.
The Phillies lost for only the fourth time in their past 22 games in Miami. The Marlins, whose 21-14 start matches the best in franchise history, came from behind to win for the 12th time, second-most in the majors.
Mistakes and squandered chances hurt the Phils, who left the bases loaded against Johnson in the second and third innings. They stranded 10 overall and went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
Rollins bobbled a grounder by Omar Infante for an error to start the bottom of the eighth. That ended a streak of 13 consecutive batters retired by Halladay.
Infante took second when Halladay threw his first wild pitch of the season, then advanced to third on a groundout and came home on Coghlan’s hit.
Leo Nunez retired Shane Victorino on a grounder with a runner at second to end the game and earn his 12th save in as many chances. Mike Dunn (3-2) pitched a perfect eighth for the win.
The announced crowd of 21,955 included a large walk-up turnout for the marquee pitching matchup, and the two big right-handers didn’t disappoint.
With the Marlins aligned in a shift, Howard went the other way on a 3-1 pitch and homered to left. But that’s all the Phils could muster.
And when Halladay walked Johnson to start the third, it led to the tying run. Johnson took third on a double by Coghlan and scored on Emilio Bonifacio’s sacrifice fly.
Johnson needed 29 pitches to get through the second inning, when he gave up the homer to Howard and then loaded the bases with no outs. He escaped further damage by striking out Dane Sardinha and Halladay, then getting Rollins to ground out.
He loaded the bases again with two outs in the third before Pete Orr grounded out.
Johnson’s last pitch was a 96-mph fastball to Howard for a called third strike that ended the seventh. In four career starts against Halladay, Johnson has allowed two earned runs in 27 2-3 innings for an ERA of 0.65.
Johnson is 0-1 in his past four starts despite an ERA of 2.22 during that span.
Perfect a year ago, Halladay extended the streak for only one batter before Bonifacio singled with one out in the first. Bonifacio was erased on a strikeout-caught stealing double play.
Notes: Philadelphia 2B Chase Utley (right knee) began a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday with Single-A Clearwater. … Phillies RHP Joe Blanton, who came off the disabled list Monday and pitched five innings in a win over Florida, complained of some soreness in his throwing elbow but is scheduled for a bullpen session Wednesday. … Phillies RHP Roy Oswalt (back), who is on the disabled list, threw a bullpen session and is expected to make a rehabilitation start Thursday for Clearwater. … Marlins RHP Edward Mujica, carted off the field Monday with a strained left knee, said the injury was not nearly as serious as he first feared. He hopes to be available Friday. … Johnson had his first hit batter and first intentional walk of the season.
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