WASHINGTON (AP) — In most cases, when a pitcher gives up two hits to open the seventh inning after a long outing, a manager would think about making a move to the bullpen. With Roy Halladay on the mound, Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel didn’t flinch.
Halladay got out of the seventh inning jam by striking out Jayson Werth and beat the Washington Nationals for the 10th straight time, with some help from Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez. Halladay allowed 10 hits and four runs over 7 innings, striking out five without a walk. Howard and Ibanez hit back-to-back homers in the fourth and each drove in a run in Philadelphia’s seventh-inning rally for a 5-4 win Monday.
After the Phillies took the lead in the top of the seventh, the Nationals appeared poised to snatch it back. Alex Cora led off with a double, and a bunt single by Ian Desmond put runners on the corners with no outs. Despite the trouble, Manuel trusted his ace, and Halladay (7-3) came through.
“He was there all the way. He got out of it, didn’t he?,” Manuel said. “That’s who he is. He wants to be there, and that’s what a No. 1 does.”
Halladay knocked down a grounder up the middle by Rick Ankiel and caught Cora in a rundown for the first out, then Danny Espinosa popped out before Werth’s strikeout.
“It was a grind, it really was,” Halladay said. “Fortunately we did enough offensively. They picked me up a couple times. It was a nice way to end it, for sure.”
The Phillies’ offense put Halladay ahead in the top of the seventh with three big at-bats by left-handed hitters — Chase Utley, Howard and Ibanez — against the Nationals’ left-handed reliever Sean Burnett. Starter Livan Hernandez left with a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning after allowing a one-out single to Placido Polanco. Burnett (0-2) then walked Utley and Howard followed with a run-scoring single to tie the game. Ibanez’s sacrifice fly scored Utley with the go-ahead run.
“That was a key point for us in the game, to be able to come back,” Howard said. “It was a hard-fought game by both teams, back and forth.”
Halladay gave up solo home runs to Michael Morse, Espinosa and Laynce Nix, the first time this season he’s given up multiple homers in a game. Halladay had allowed a total of two home runs in his first 11 starts. “It’s hard to walk away from this one,” Burnett said. “Livo threw a good game. Our offense put up four on Halladay, that’s not going to happen too much. We need a win, and we had it won if I can execute and get the lefties out I’m supposed to get.”
Halladay is 11-1 against the Nationals and Expos franchise since losing June 28, 2002, in Montreal. Washington has now lost three in a row and eight of nine.
Howard and Ibanez keyed two big Phillies rallies. The back-to-back homers started a three-run fourth inning to put Philadelphia ahead after Washington had taken a 2-0 lead in the second on Morse’s homer and Hernandez’s sacrifice squeeze bunt. Espinosa tied the game at 3 with a two-out home run into the right field seats in the fifth, and Washington took a 4-3 lead on Nix’s shot in the sixth inning.
Manuel said he knew teams would start to score runs even against his star pitcher with the weather warming up. The temperature was 92 degrees when the game started at 1 p.m. “This is hitting season,” Manuel said. “It’s hot, it’s warm, they’re swinging. Teams get up for Roy, which is good. He likes that. That’s part of competing, and part of who he is. … Some days you’re going to get hit, and he passed the test pretty good today.”
NOTES: Philadelphia is 24-0 when leading after seven innings this season. … Ibanez has 999 career RBIs. … Halladay has gone at least six innings in 60 straight road starts, the longest streak since Walter Johnson did it in 82 straight from 1911-1915. … Ryan Madson pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save in 12 chances. … Nationals SS Ian Desmond was held out of the starting lineup to rest, although he entered as part of a double switch in the seventh inning. Washington manager Jim Riggleman said Desmond has some “aches and pains.” … Both teams wore stars-and-stripes themed caps for the Memorial Day holiday. “If you’re going to play on Memorial Day, I can’t imagine anyplace else to play a baseball game than Washington, D.C.,” Manuel said. “That’s pretty good.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)